Saturday, 1 August 2015

Mainfreight Chairman's statement calling for national transport plan

Mainfreight's chairman Bruce Plested has made headlines this week calling for a national transport plan and support for Kiwirail.

Road transport operators have latched onto the business opportunities offered by rail transport as a way of getting some of their goods transported around the country more cheaply for long distances and in sufficient bulk.

When NZR had the long distance freight monopoly Mainfreight were a company that competed aggressively with NZR and undercut them to an extent. Mainfreight also put together a bid to privatise NZR in 1992 but lost out to the "Tranz Rail" consortium at that time.

One of the angles in the news article is competition for freight movement between different regional ports, this is competing against Mainfreight's own transport services and this is an obvious target of this campaign.

Clearly it is a case of what the government should do that will advantage land transport as opposed to sea transport so that should be clearly considered when formulating policy. That is one clear reason why the government has so far largely ignored Mainfreight and other logistics operators' calls beyond pointing out that they are already giving Kiwirail a considerable level of subsidy to continue operating.