Freight Futures Conference 2018

By: Randolph Covich, Photography by: Randolph Covich

Transport and freight logistic providers and stakeholders gathered at the recently held Freight Futures Conference 2018 in Auckland

Transport and freight logistic providers and stakeholders got an insight into the near future of transportation at the recently held Freight Futures Conference 2018, which took place in Auckland.


The annual event looks at the transportation of goods across New Zealand and speakers include government officials along with freight sector specialists.

This year’s event highlighted upcoming changes to Government funding for new infrastructure, which will see a partial move away from the main centres and focus on some key provincial areas, which no doubt will please freight providers operating in
those areas.

Following on from last year’s conference, the Government still appears to be focussed on other forms of transportation, in particular, coastal shipping and rail. While much has been reported about these different forms (or modes as they are referred to these days) of transport to move goods around the country, one rail expert said a lot of talk had been happening with no additional funding or freight forthcoming.

With no actual commitment to using coastal shipping or rail though, owners may find it difficult to secure funding to invest or upgrade their equipment to cope with the new vision that has been discussed for the last two years of Freight Futures conferences.

Resilience is also important according to the Government and having equipment to move freight by whatever means possible in the event of a natural disaster features high on their agenda.


Online shoppers came in for criticism with one transport provider quipping that the demand for instant gratification meant rail and shipping would never cope, as customer demand these days requires even faster handling of freight.

There was also some discussion around inland ports, which appears to be a catchphrase for large storage and handling yards. It appears there seems to be an oversupply of these facilities and Christchurch came in for some close scrutiny at one point, however, it appears supply and demand will dictate the outcome of such facilities.

Getting the freight framework in the upper North Island correct will be critical to the future of the region, with one speaker saying Northland, Auckland, and Bay of Plenty are estimated to increase in population by up to 45% by 2032, with a 50% increase in freight by 2042.

Therefore, they said it was critical to develop a robust supply chain for those areas with a rail line from Marsden Point and Northport (Whangarei) being seen as key freight corridors.

A closer watch on how freight is being moved across the country is in place and there will be opportunities for agile-thinking businesses to capitalise on changes to the future freight industry.

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