New port partnership a boost for Marlborough exporters

14 June 2022

Media Release

Port Marlborough and CentrePort have joined forces to provide an end-to-end logistics supply chain connecting Marlborough exporters directly to the world.

The ports have entered into a formal agreement which creates a new, reliable, resilient, and lower carbon freight link between exporters in Marlborough and international markets.  The initiative provides a cargo hub and freight movement via road/rail to coastal and international shipping.

An inland cargo hub will be established at the Riverlands site near Blenheim, 34km to Picton via State Highway 1.  The hub, to be developed over the next 18-24 months for cargo aggregation, links to Port Marlborough by State Highway 1 and rail. 

Port Marlborough CEO Rhys Welbourn says there will be major benefits for Marlborough exporters and importers, and the region’s community and economy.

“We have collectively been working with shippers who want a reliable, resilient, and competitive supply chain which is what this partnership will deliver. 

“It creates improved access and options for shippers for an end-to-end export service with the cargo aggregation hub at Riverlands connecting them to coastal and international shipping at competitive rates.  That will help local businesses grow, benefitting the region’s and New Zealand’s economy, “Mr Welbourn said.

CentrePort CEO Anthony Delaney says the partnership has significant environmental and resilience benefits as well.

“The proximity of the Riverlands hub to exporters and the direct link via State Highway 1 with the potential for a rail connection, will provide a lower carbon option compared to other supply chain routes.  

“CentrePort’s supply chain infrastructure already includes a range of carbon reduction initiatives including fully electric container movement vehicles on port.    Hydrogen is part of future plans.  We have invested in infrastructure resilience and capacity enhancement which can also benefit shippers in the upper South Island, “Mr Delaney said.

Mr Welbourn and Mr Delaney said the partnership had wider benefits for the New Zealand logistics supply chain. 

“It will help increase efficiency by enabling empty containers to be efficiently distributed to key exporter locations.  It also supports coastal shipping which the Government identifies as important for strengthening and diversifying the supply chain,” they said.

Marlborough District Council Mayor John Leggett has welcomed the announcement. 

“This is a fantastic new development for Marlborough that will streamline our export supply chain. Marlborough accounts for 86% of New Zealand’s wine exports and also exports large volumes of high quality food produce,” say Mr Leggett.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) Chair Daran Ponter says the partnership is a boost for the central New Zealand economy.

“This initiative enhances resilience and certainty for exporters which is welcome in these challenging times, and will also grow cargo throughput for the ports, including CentrePort of which GWRC is majority shareholder,” Mr Ponter said.

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens is also supportive.

“This new partnership between Port Marlborough and CentrePort will build on logistics infrastructure in place at Riverlands and will be welcomed and utilised by the regions wine producers. Alongside this, the commercial and environmental benefits from increased two-way freight services are very important to our industry,” Mr Pickens said.

The joint partnership facilitated between Port Marlborough and CentrePort will see the development of the Riverlands site.  A total of seven hectares of the 32-hectare site will be utilised for the hub with the remainder available to prospective parties.