Businesses in this sector provide services for the transportation of passengers and freight by road, rail, water, pipeline or air. It also includes the provision of goods warehousing and storage activities that support transport logistics. Organisations that provide support activities such as stevedoring; harbour, navigation and airport operations; and customs agency services; are also included. Given the complexities of co-ordinating transport activities, the services provided by this sector are collectively known as transport logistics.

The transport logistics activities provided by this sector support the local economy and provide an essential service to export industries by enabling the efficient movement of goods to external markets. In line with the sector’s support-player role in the economy, activity has historically been closely linked to wider economic performance.

Christchurch Quick Facts

  • Contributes approximately $900 million to Christchurch GDP (Infometrics’ Estimate year ended June 2014, $2010)
  • Accounts for around five percent of GDP in Christchurch
  • Around 1,366 business units are based in Christchurch (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
  • Has around 9,710 employees (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
Transport, Postal and Warehousing Sector Employment Breakdown, 2014
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Sub-sectorEmployee Count% of Total
Road Transport358037%
Rail Transport30<1%
Water Transport851%
Air and Space Transport166017%
Other Transport2402%
Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services117012%
Transport and Support Services240025%
Warehousing and Storage Services5506%

Sector Trends

Demand Growth

Transport logistics demand is largely driven by the performance of the following sectors:

  • Agriculture and Food Processing
  • General Manufacturing
  • High Value-Added Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Retail
  • Construction

Between now and 2031 the transport logistics task in New Zealand is expected to increase by about 70-75 percent compared to 2006. Growth in Canterbury is expected to be above the national average.

Agriculture will be a key driver in the growth of activity in the city. The Transport Logistics sector is a key service sector enabling the delivery of primary produce to national and international markets. Large increases in agricultural productivity are expected.

The Transport Logistics sector in Christchurch has, and will continue to, experience changes in demand as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes. Unlike most sectors, the short-term impact of the earthquakes on employment levels was positive. Significant resources will be required on an ongoing basis to support demolition, repair and rebuild activities as well as serving existing needs in the short to medium- term, which are less optimal as a result of earthquake disruption and ongoing infrastructure repairs.

Larger Vehicles

Internationally, shipping companies are continually moving to larger vessels in order to improve efficiency in supply chains. The rail network has been upgraded on some key routes to enable the operation of longer trains. The Government has also amended land transport rules to enable the use of high-productivity vehicles (up to 20 metres in length) to operate above 44 tonnes on specified road routes.

Port Consolidation

In light of the trend towards larger ships, the New Zealand Shippers’ Council has recommended that two ports (one in the North Island and one in the South Island) should invest to become 7000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) ship-capable within the next five years. The analysis and research that the Council has undertaken points to the ports of Tauranga and Lyttelton being the logical candidates to deliver such capability. If larger ships start to serve Lyttelton, it is likely that some consolidation of international goods trade would occur in the South Island.

Sector Initiatives

Lyttelton Port Expansion

The Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) is undertaking a project to reclaim new land utilising earthquake deconstruction waste to provide additional wharf storage facilities. LPC’s long-term strategy is to shift its port facilities to the east and deepen the access channel in the harbour to allow for larger ships.

Port of Timaru Inland Port

Port of Tauranga acquired the container terminal operating assets of PrimePort Timaru and has set up a new Port of Tauranga Limited wholly-owned subsidiary, Timaru Container Terminal Limited, to operate the terminal. The company is planning the development of a 15-hectare intermodal freight hub at the Izone industrial park in Rolleston. The intermodal freight hub will receive, pack and distribute containerised cargo.

Christchurch International Airport Development – Dakota Park

Christchurch International Airport (CIAL) has been developing an 80-hectare business park that fronts on to State Highway 1 on its eastern boundary. Dakota Park is designed to provide a high standard of accommodation for warehousing and logistics industries and other businesses.