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Calls for a rail link to Northport are increasing as extra trucks start transporting thousands of containers from the port to Auckland.
National Road Carriers says some 2700 extra truck trips will be needed between Marsden Point and Auckland to move the Auckland-bound containers off the 261m ship Constantinos P.
The container ship was diverted to Northland after congestion at Ports of Auckland meant it could not be unloaded there in time for Christmas.
The 261m Constantinos P, which berthed on Sunday, is Northport's largest visitor, laden with Christmas cargo.
The ship, run by ANL Container Lines, was originally scheduled to stop at Auckland's port on December 5 but congestion relating to the Covid-19 impact globally and a lack of staff meant the date was delayed to December 22.
Northport agreed to help, even though the ship is the largest to berth at the port and the port is not fully equipped to unload it, chief executive Jon Moore said in a statement.
The ship berthed on Sunday, with a fire at Northport on Saturday not disrupting operations.
The containers are unable to be transported by rail because the north Auckland rail line is closed by a $110 million redevelopment and a link to the port’s location at Marsden Point has not been built.
News of the extra truck trips has made some Whangārei residents postpone trips to Auckland due to fears of congestion.
It has also sparked more calls for the rail link to Northport to be built.
“When is the line opening?” asked one resident on Neighbourly. “There are more container ships coming to Northport.”
Other residents have complained about the poor state of the road between Marsden Point and Auckland.
“The Government need to take a serious look the disgusting state of the roads. Throwing a bagful of metal into a pot hole doesn't resolve much, does it,” said another resident on Neighbourly.
Trucks on the moveBy 9am on Friday morning, a number of the trucks had passed through Wellsford on their way to Auckland.
Bayley, a shop worker at Biltong Plus in Wellsford, said SH1 was “super busy” but still moving.
“I’ve seen about eight of those trucks heading down towards Auckland and about 15 going up towards Whangārei.”
Karen Lennon, the owner of Woody’s Winners, also in Wellsford, said it wasn’t too bad so far on the roads.
“I saw a few big trucks going up north yesterday, but at this time of the year we just expect delays anyway.”
Lennon hoped the extra trucks coming through might help ramp up business.
“They can feel free to make a coffee stop and buy a Lotto ticket here on the way through,” she said.
This article first appeared on www.stuff.co.nz
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