Walbran Transport Analysis

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Central Log Rail

This proposal was for a project that met the Government’s, Transfund’s and the Regional Councils’ aims for the land transport system by removing a significant quantity of freight traffic from two key State highways. 

A large increase in forest harvest volumes in the southern North Island in the very near future will result in large increases in the quantity of both logs and timber products to be transported for export.  A shortage of onshore processing capacity and the lengthy lead times required to establish new processing capacity results initially in a large percentage of the increased harvest being exported as logs, however, over time, an increasing proportion of the increased harvest is expected to be exported as processed wood product as new processing capacity is progressively established.

The proposal was to transport logs and processed timber products in the southern North Island (from Masterton, Marton & Wanganui) by rail rather than road.  Logs and processed timber products would be trucked to log yards and transferred to rail.  Three log yards would be created at existing railway stations at Masterton, Marton and Wanganui.  The logs (and other wood products) would be railed to CentrePort (Wellington) for export.

A window of opportunity existed to establish the log rail operation for minimum subsidy cost.  Considerable benefits can accrue in terms of economic development, assisting safety, improving access and promoting environmental sustainability through transferring the transport of increasing volumes of logs from road freight to rail freight.  In order for the benefits to be achieved an investment was needed from central government for three years.   The analysis demonstrated that the investment would be amply repaid in the returns achieved - principally to road users.

Warwick Walbran Consulting Limited was engaged by the Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) to detail the background, strategic consistency analysis, capital requirements and the economic analysis of the investment proposal.

Outcome – Funding approved. 

Client Comments

Warwick’s background, experience, and client contacts ensured that the required material was supplied at the right places to get a favorable response.
– Peter Berg, Director, Pentarch Forest Products Limited.

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