Rail freight takes pressure off roads

A major transport study says rail freight is an economic way to take pressure off South Island roads. It found potential for a $20-$30 million investment in rail projects to save up to $12-$18 million annually, when wider costs are considered.

Freight movements in the South Island are expected to increase by 40% within 30 years. The forecast has councils concerned about maintenance, safety and environmental impacts – and asking what can be done now.

Rail is part of the answer, according to the study, which quantifies the costs of moving freight around the island. Carried out by Stantec on behalf of the South Island Regional Transport Committee Chairs Group, the study released by Environment Canterbury has found substantial opportunities for shifting freight from road to rail.

The Group’s chair, Marlborough District Council deputy mayor Terry Sloan, says freight mode-shift is a South Island-wide concern, and necessary to support sustainable growth.

Read a copy of the report, Identification of the opportunity for mode shift and preparation of a mode shift implementation plan.