Visualising freight transport in NZ

By Aaron Schiff 10/04/2015

In March last year the Ministry of Transport published the National Freight Demand Study. Among many other interesting things, the study includes estimates of total freight volumes between regions within New Zealand for each of three modes: road, rail, and coastal shipping. I’ve been working with one of the report’s main authors, Richard Paling, to develop a visualisation of the aggregate freight volumes for 2012 that were published in the report. (Note that this is something we decided to do off our own bat, and it wasn’t funded or necessarily endorsed by the Ministry of Transport).

It turned out to be relatively straightforward to adapt my earlier Auckland rail passengers visualisation to show the freight data. You can play with the resulting interactive map here. Freight volumes can be shown in total or for each mode, and if you click a region you’ll see the volumes in and out of that region (click it again to deselect it).

Across all modes, the Auckland – Waikato – BoP “golden triangle” really stands out (blue is northbound freight and orange is southbound):


One thing to note is that the NFDS data just shows origin and destination region (not route). This might explain why Wellington doesn’t appear very prominently in freight to and from the South Island.

Road freight generally has a similar picture to the total above, but rail freight is largely concentrated on a few key routes:


The coastal shipping picture is interesting — quite a high proportion coming out of Northland:


Please have a play and let me know what you think. And if you have similar data that could be visualised, I’d love to hear from you.

0 Responses to “Visualising freight transport in NZ”

  • Can you dig the “freight trucks by ferries” and “freight on rail by ferries” out of the data??
    Petrol and oil from Northland is heavy and one way traffic eh?
    Can “energy” be separated from “general” freight??