Whakatū Inland Port Project Update
As of August 2021, Napier Port has made the decision to formally decline the government’s offer to provide funding for the development of an inland port project in Whakatū. We remain firmly committed to building this vital piece of infrastructure in Whakatu, however, we have now shifted our timeframe for commencement of this project back out to a 5-10 year timeline.
As we have said right from the start, this project needs to stand on its own and bringing our initial timeframes forward in response to the Crown’s financial support was always subject to a business case.
Since the funding announcement in July last year, Napier Port has completed its due diligence and undertaken significant operational and commercial analysis and completed modelling of the port’s future cargo growth volumes − both to supplement our existing 30-Year Master Plan data and in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its global impacts.
Ultimately, the business case does not support moving ahead immediately. We will look to advance the project when it makes both operational and commercial sense for Napier Port in the future.
Now that this decision has been made, we welcome the opportunity to slow the pace of the Whakatū inland port project and will focus our efforts squarely on our current strategic projects, first and foremost the new 6 Wharf development project.
We want to maintain our focus with the Whakatū community and mana whenua and will continue to progress our engagement process with them.
About Whakatū Inland Port
An inland port is a vital piece of infrastructure that will provide the capacity and capability to meet the future regional growth that is expected within Hawke’s Bay and across the wider North Island.
As a major regional infrastructure asset, Napier Port is essential to the health of the region’s economy and is a key gateway to global markets for our vital exporters and importers. We are an active participant in driving regional prosperity across Hawke’s Bay and the wider North Island.
The Whakatū inland port project has significant potential to enable sustainable regional economic growth in Hawke’s Bay, creating employment opportunities for our growing community and, in particular, supporting local iwi with economic opportunities and future investment options. For these reasons, the project has received support from all five Hawke’s Bay
councils, as well as the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Crown.
The current Whakatū site is our preferred location for the following reasons:
- The site is strategically located in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay pipfruit industry, and has direct rail and road connections to Napier Port and the lower North Island.
- The site is located within the Whakatū Industrial zone, and fits into Hawke’s Bay broader strategic plan as set out in the local councils’ district plans.
- The Port already owns the land at Whakatū. It has been the basis for all of our planning for many years, as well as part of the Port’s 30 Year Master Plan (link available below).
- An alternative site for the inland port would ideally need to take into consideration all of the above criteria, and we are not aware of another feasible option in Hawke’s Bay.