Participate Palmy

KiwiRail regional freight hub

KiwiRail is proposing to develop a freight hub near Bunnythorpe. Find out more about this project, what Council’s role is, and opportunities for you to provide feedback.

KiwiRail is progressing plans for a high-tech, intermodal freight hub which will help grow Palmerston North’s role as a critical freight distribution centre. It will support rail and road transport working together to meet the freight demand in the lower North Island, while boosting the regional economy.

The hub project is aligned with Horizon’s and Palmerston North City Council growth plans and it will tie in with other freight transport projects in the region.

Over the last year KiwiRail has been working with stakeholders, iwi and a team of independent specialists to identify potential sites. It has now identified its preferred site and is looking to apply for a Notice of Requirement to designate the land in September.

KiwiRail is currently finalising the design and developing mitigations.

Get involved

The initial public feedback stage closed on 30 July but there will be more opportunities in future. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the KiwiRail project team.

Watch: Intermodal freight hub masterplan.

The site

KiwiRail looked at a range of potential sites adjacent to the North Island main trunk line around Palmerston North, assessing each against a range of criteria such as resilience, economic, connectivity, impacts on the natural environment and noise.

Early this year KiwiRail narrowed its investigation to the area between Bunnythorpe and Roberts Line. The selected site is between Palmerston North Airport and Bunnythorpe, on the western side of Railway Road. It has a range of advantages:

  • close to future potential rail freight customers and Palmerston North Airport
  • no major impact on existing main infrastructure (including not being in the airport flight path, over Feilding Aerodrome or near any existing schools)
  • aligned with Council’s City Development Strategy (partially located in and connected to the North-East Industrial Zone)
  • aligned with NZTA / Council transport projects, including the future freight ring-road.

What is Council’s position on the freight hub?

Council broadly supports the proposal, which aligns with our long-term strategic planning for this part of the city. Railway Road has long been identified as an area for a freight hub that links road, air and rail. This is shown on Council’s spatial plan for the city.

Land in this area has also been progressively rezoned to support large freight and distribution activities. Council is conscious of potential effects on landowners and neighbours. This will be addressed through the Resource Management Act process.

What is Council’s role?

Once KiwiRail has finished its engagement and investigations, Council will be responsible for processing the Notice of Requirement to designate the land for the freight hub.

This process operates under the Resource Management Act and is similar to a resource consent. The Council will be required to publicly notify the Notice of Requirement for submissions. Affected landowners and interested parties will be able to lodge submissions.

This will be followed by a public hearing where the Council is required to make a recommendation to KiwiRail on the Notice of Requirement and any conditions to manage effects.

Find out more

More information about this project is available on the KiwiRail website.


If you have any questions, please email the KiwiRail project team at or call them on 06 350 9415.