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New Rail Link Connects Fonterra Distribution Center to World Markets

04:09AM Apr 15, 2013

The new rail link into New Zealand site is expected to carry 200,000 metric tons of milk powder in its first year.

Source: Fonterra news release

It’s all about taking Canterbury’s milk to the world, Fonterra Director John Monaghan said at the official opening April 12.

"This new rail link connects Fonterra’s Darfield’s distribution centre to New Zealand’s busiest rail line through to Lyttleton Ports of Christchurch. From there it’s on to China, South East Asia and the Middle East," he said.

General Manager Logistics Network Development & Design Andy Sanderson said rail connects Fonterra to New Zealand’s key ports, from where products are exported to over 100 markets around the world.

"Fonterra Darfield is on track to produce 85,000 metric tonnes of milk powder for customers this season, and our new rail link will provide a safe, efficient connection to Lyttleton Ports of Christchurch," he said.

"There’s also a benefit for local motorists, with a reduction in local truck movements. The train is expected to carry the freight of approximately 90 trucks every day when the second drier comes on line later this year.

"Rail also delivers environmental and financial benefits with fewer emissions and economies of scale that mean we drive better returns to our farmer-shareholders," Sanderson said.

Key to the success of the project was the partnership between Fonterra, KiwiRail, our building contractors and the local community.

"The close working relationship has enabled the project to come in on time and on budget on a site that’s also processing milk and building a second milk powder drier.

"It’s a fantastic achievement and tribute to the hard work of everyone involved," said Sanderson.

The site’s second Distribution Centre has also been completed on schedule and progress on the site’s second drier remains on track, with the first milk powder scheduled for late August.

Minister for the Environment and Selwyn MP Amy Adams was among the guests to arrive on the first train, with Minister Adams officially declaring the rail link open a short time later.

Fonterra Darfield rail link facts

• The new rail link measures 700 metres in length and connects the site’s distribution centre to the main trunk line.
• There are three 620 metre rail sidings for loading containers.
• The container loading pavement area measures 22,000m2 – equal to 33 tennis courts.
• With both driers running at capacity the rail link will save approximately 17,000 truck journeys per year, or 90 per day at the peak of the season.