Transport Sector Helps Secure BOP ‘Regional Powerhouse’ Title

Western Bay of Plenty is being lauded as a "regional powerhouse" driven in no small part by the support and growth of the road transport industry. 

The Bay of Plenty's economy has grown drastically (4.1 percent) over the past year to March 2018 especially considering national growth was significantly smaller at 2.7 percent. Highlights of this growth was in Western Bay of Plenty (1.7 percent) and Tauranga (4.4 percent). 

Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan says freight through the Port of Tauranga and kiwifruit exports are driving local growth, along with growth in commercial construction. 

TD Haulage dispatcher Morgan Dynes says freight has become so busy the company has been working in with others to fill all their orders. 

Dynes says that increased activity in the region has led to large growth in business, but also in traffic and at a time when labour is in short supply things can get complicated.

"Things are busy but because there's a shortage of labour. When we do X amount of loads and you don't have, say, five drivers, you definitely notice a difference." 

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec says Tauranga's growth has been strong and consistent. 

"While our traditional industries have had a good run lately, there's been lots of new growth as well from industry and construction." 

"Tauranga continues to hum and we're only at the start of much more growth that will occur over the next decade. We're now seeing investment in real infrastructure and economic assets that will transform this city into a regional powerhouse." 

Priority One communications and projects manager Annie Hill says the region is an increasingly popular place for businesses to base themselves due to competitive advantages. 

"These include proximity to international markets through Port of Tauranga, ability to efficiently access over 60 per cent of the domestic market in the central and upper North Island by rail and road links…” says Hill. 

The region certainly is experiencing some growing pains involving traffic and house prices but this was more a reflection of the strong growth in the region in a relatively short period of time. It may be a while for infrastructure to catch up.

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