Upper North Island supply chain strategy. Final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group

Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group
Ministry of Transport | Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group
Publication date:

Transforming Auckland; Transforming Northland

UNISCS. November 2019

The Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group was asked by Cabinet to undertake a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s freight and logistics sector for the Upper North Island, including ports. This review will guide the development and delivery of a strategy for the Upper North Island to ensure the supply chain is fit for purpose in the long-term.

The Working Group

We are the independent working group leading this review. We have expertise in a range of areas including economic and business development, regional development, transport and logistics, infrastructure management, investment and planning.


The Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group was established under the Labour-New Zealand First Coalition Agreement, which included a commitment of “commissioning a feasibility study on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport serious consideration”.

The Working Group’s study has been carried out in the context of New Zealand’s domestic and international freight needs being projected to grow by 55% by 2042, from 237 million tonnes in 2012/13 to 366 million tonnes in 2042/43.1

At the same time, Ports of Auckland’s major freight operation is already significantly constrained, especially on the landside. It would require an estimated $4 billion in investment over the next 30 years, and the dredging of a further two million tonnes from Auckland’s Waitemata- Harbour, to deal with this growth. Within 15 years, one container truck would be leaving the port’s gates into Auckland’s already gridlocked traffic every 23 seconds, worsening to one every 16 seconds by 2049. Auckland’s freight port is struggling to maintain its social license, with regular public and political calls for it to move or its growth to be checked.

Beyond Auckland, other very large investments, of $1.2 billion at Port of Tauranga and $2.8 billion in the Upper North Island’s road and rail networks, would also be needed to maintain the status quo. Maintaining the status quo is therefore not free. To the contrary, it is expensive, inefficient and – all stakeholders agree, including Ports of Auckland Ltd – ultimately unsustainable. The question for taxpayers, ratepayers and shareholders of the three Upper North Island ports is not whether large sums need to be invested to manage freight growth; but how and where that money is best spent.

After nearly 15 months of work and two interim reports, our first six recommendations are that:

1. Ports of Auckland’s CBD freight operation is no longer economically or environmentally viable, and is constrained by landside infrastructure failure. It is in the interests of taxpayers and ratepayers that it be progressively closed and the land it currently occupies be progressively rezoned for higher and better uses.

2. Northport should be developed to take over much or all of Auckland’s existing and projected future freight business.

3. Port of Tauranga’s existing expansion plans should proceed to accommodate growth.

4. Auckland’s cruise ship terminal should be modernised and the Waitematabecome a commuter, tourism and recreation harbour.

5. The new two-port configuration should be supported by a rejuvenated North Auckland rail line and spur to Northport, and a new inland freight hub in northwest Auckland to complement and be connected to Metroport in the south. 6. This transition should begin immediately and be fully completed by no later than 2034, fifteen years hence, with a stretch target of 2029. ...


See also, Ministry of Transport

Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy


Last updated: 2019-12-12