8 Apr 2004
The Port of Tauranga and Tranz Rail today announced that they would be undertaking a major upgrading of the MetroPort operation in South Auckland that will more than double the present area available for containers, provide additional sidings that will speed up turnaround times and allow longer trains to service the inland port.
Work on the $3 million plus project will start this month and is expected to be completed within 10 weeks.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Jon Mayson said the expansion was needed because of the exceptional growth in the demand for MetroPort's facilities, brought about by additional services and the growth of Auckland-bound imports.
To enable the expansion programme to be implemented, the Port of Tauranga and Tranz Rail will relocate their jointly-owned MetroBox operation to an adjacent site.
The immediate benefits of the expansion will be an extension of the sealed area, an increase in the number of ground slots for containers from 642 to 1390, and drainage improvements. The new sealed areas will be lit so that they can operate on a 24-hour basis.
The construction of two additional rail tracks will allow the port to be serviced by trains able to handle 70 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) containers at a time. This will relieve pressure on the present siding and allow the loading and unloading function to be separated.
Mr Mayson said the extension of MetroPort would bring about a number of efficiencies, including a redesign of traffic flows through the site and a lowering of stacking heights to allow easier access to containers. It would also allow for the separation of receiving and unloading activities.
"These factors and the introduction of bigger trains will enable us to relieve the pressure that the operation has been under because of the demand for its services."
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