Tokoroa has a high unemployment rate (10.1 per cent) and ranks as one of the poorest in the country in terms of the Deprivation Index. It is also at risk of continued population decline due to a lack of jobs. To help make the community more economically vibrant and less reliant on government services, the South Waikato District Council has two strategic objectives – more jobs and better district promotion. The road/rail terminal project is forecast to create more than 30 new jobs for the district. The improved transport connection to the Port of Tauranga, along with the changing economic makeup of the district, is also expected to be the driver for new industry (such as for dairy processing) to consider Tokoroa as a viable location. It will provide much-needed opportunities for economic growth through the development of a logistics hub for dairy, forestry and engineering.
The project builds on local company RJ Lincoln Logistics’ successful transport and bulk storage operation in Tokoroa using a rail facility at Kinleith. Due to the growth of freight volumes the current operation needs to now relocate to Tokoroa to remain efficient, reduce costs and handle further volume growth. The rail siding at Kinleith has shown that there is potential for growth if a full road/rail terminal in Tokoroa is developed. This will allow direct container loading and unloading off rail to generate employment, transport and storage business opportunities, encourage new business and provide an efficient freight solution that reduces the cost of doing business.
The project investment case is backed by a public-private group of investor; the current partners are RJ Lincoln Logistics (RJL), KiwiRail and the South Waikato District Council.