Early support shown for Mosgiel freight hub

Land owned by Southern Edge Hub Farms is part of an area that could become a freight logistics...
Land owned by Southern Edge Hub Farms is part of an area that could become a freight logistics hub near Mosgiel. GRAPHIC: ODT GRAPHICS
The backers of an inland port near Mosgiel have cleared their first hurdle despite concerns the freight hub could clog up vital roads.

An area in Dukes Rd North will be formally identified as a possible location for a freight logistics park, but there will be arguments to settle before it can be established at scale.

One will relate to traffic implications for Mosgiel from the proposed hub’s expected growth.

If the hub proceeds, it is not initially expected to result in more truck movements in Mosgiel’s main street, Gordon Rd, but this could change in the second phase of development, about five years down the track.

The situation appears to add impetus to calls for a heavy-traffic bypass of Gordon Rd, assuming the freight park has momentum.

The hub is some distance from getting acceptance.

But Dukes Rd North got a strategic tick as a possible location from a Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council future development strategy hearing yesterday.

Commissioners deliberated on various issues and one call they made was to agree the location near Mosgiel was a possible site for a logistics hub.

Kevin Winders. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Kevin Winders. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Commissioner and city councillor Jim O’Malley recused himself from deliberations.

The project has been pitched by Southern Edge Hub Farms and is also supported by Port Otago.

It would enable more product to be transferred from road to rail at Mosgiel on its way to the port’s sites, reducing truck movements within Dunedin and freeing up some port space.

Port Otago chief executive Kevin Winders said yesterday the project could yield an efficiency boost for the port.

"We’re pretty jammed up at the moment," he said.

"This is a good opportunity to future-proof our city and region."

In written material provided to the hearing, Mr Winders said land owned by the port at Dukes Rd North was not of sufficient size to support long-term regional growth on its own.

"However, the area identified by Southern Edge will unlock significant potential for an excellent inland logistics facility to serve Dunedin’s needs for the next 30-plus years."

Port Otago exports about $4.8 billion and imports about $1b of goods annually and employs about 300 people.

The operation is facing constraints because of limited space at Port Chalmers and Dunedin.

Mr Winders said there were limited options for dealing with this.

"Establishing this facility would have huge benefits for the operation of Port Otago and the wider Dunedin community."

The port already received about 65% of its freight through rail but wanted to get near 100%, Mr Winders said.

Southern Edge also had a win at the hearing on Wednesday.

Council planners had argued including the Mosgiel site in the strategy as a possible site should be "subject to necessary investigations and infrastructure upgrades being identified and funded in relevant funding documents".

The upgrades required would include Three Waters upgrades, a heavy-traffic bypass and any necessary upgrades to flood management infrastructure.

Southern Edge counsel Phil Page argued the strategy could map constraints but it was "not appropriate to make things subject to them".

City council counsel Michael Garbett conceded the point.

Milburn, near Milton, remains in the frame as an alternative location for an inland port.

Southern Edge planning consultant John Kyle said "nothing concrete has been realised in this regard".