Millions of dollars are expected to be saved and up to six trucks taken off the road through a pilot milk transporting scheme developed by a Southland trucking business and dairy giant Fonterra.
Tapanui-based Dynes Transport has developed a transfer station, the first of its kind in Southland, allowing Fonterra tankers operating around Central Southland to off-load milk into a 120,000-litre silo at a Wreys Bush site before Dynes' trucks transport it in bulk for processing at the Edendale plant.
Dynes Transport managing director Peter Dynes said the system would allow Fonterra to take up to six trucks off the road in Southland with estimated capital and operating cost savings of more than $3 million, while it meant his company could better utilise its trucking fleet.
"This is a partnership and it's a win-win situation for Fonterra and for us. There will be some significant savings made and as a result I believe these types of transfer stations will take off in other places."
The next-closest transfer station is located at Oamaru.
Mr Dynes said the deal allowed his company to better utilise its assets and secure consistent work for the company's drivers, with their truck's twist-lock chassis technology allowing stock or logging trucks to be easily converted to transport milk.
"We can take a logging frame off and put a milk tanker frame on a truck in half an hour."
The NZ Transport Agency had welcomed the initiative because it reduced wear on its roading network and the wider community would appreciate the reduction in emissions, he said.
Fonterra New Zealand operations director Robert Spurway said the trial would be no risk to employees.
No drivers would be let go, he said.
Fonterra logistics planning manager Keith Roach said the milk from dairy farmers within a 15km radius of the Wreys Bush site would be collected at the hub.
"This is about being smarter around delivering that milk. Three trucks will now service this area during the day, instead of 20, because we can turn the trucks around a lot quicker."
Fonterra national distribution manager Barry McColl said the partnership would save money and deliver a better service to farmers - "it's about getting that balance right."
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