The Waikato-Tainui owned Ruakura inland port development has taken a major step forward with the announcement today of a joint venture partnership with a world-class port operator.
Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) and LINX Cargo Care Group have joined forces to develop and operate the new port, currently under construction.
LINX and one of its subsidiaries, C3 Limited, New Zealand’s largest on-wharf logistics company, are owned by a Brookfield Consortium which brings together global experience in port operations and infrastructure development.
“We are delighted to confirm this agreement with LINX Cargo Care Group following a comprehensive RFP process over the past 10 months, which attracted expressions of interest from seven potential port operators,” said TGH chief executive Chris Joblin.
“LINX and C3 share our long-term vision to help transform North Island freight flows, driving new levels of productivity, efficiency and speed to market for the rapidly growing export and import community in the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga,” he said.
The 50/50 joint venture of TGH and LINX will take an initial 30-year lease on the inland port land at Ruakura, subject to the OIO (Overseas Investment Office) approval.
Waikato-Tainui will continue to own the land on which the Ruakura Inland Port is built, and benefit from ground lease payments for its use.
Anthony Jones, Group CEO for LINX Cargo Care Group and Chairman of C3 said the transformative nature of Ruakura was a major attraction.
“Ruakura will be transformational for the New Zealand logistical supply chain. It will offer stable, efficient and cost-effective networks for importers and exporters to grow with confidence in the future. We are extremely excited to be part of this project for New Zealand’s North Island communities, which will deliver long-term benefits such as safer roads, employment opportunities and reliable inland transport networks,” he said.
In addition to the range of services Ruakura will provide to the region’s exporters and importers, it has the potential to support 6,000 to 12,000 jobs once completed. LINX’s commitment to work with Waikato-Tainui on creating jobs for tribal members forms an important part of the JV agreement.
The appointment includes an agreement with C3 to run the port’s day-to-day operations. Joblin said C3’s position as New Zealand’s largest on-port services provider meant it worked in partnership with a large number of exporters and importers, providing a pipeline of potential customers for Ruakura.
“We are in positive discussions with prospective customers and tenants for the inland port and adjoining logistics hub which will have excellent connections to the East Coast Main Trunk Line and to the new Waikato Expressway via a full diamond interchange.
“Now that LINX Cargo Care Group is on board, we will continue working together to achieve our goal of having Stage 1 of Ruakura operating in the first half of 2019,” said Joblin.