Authorities are reporting that “The Lewis Pass route” is recording extraordinary numbers of heavy vehicles, up 400+%, which equates to over 700 trips a day or 16,800 tonnes in freight terms. Traditionally more than 50% of this volume would have be moved by rail down the East Coast of the South Island. In coming days this could climb to over 1,000 heavy vehicle trips pounding down on this route. We have been ‘lucky’ that no further events or weather disruptions occurred over the weekend and up until today. The real challenge is the convergence of tourist and public traffic traveling along the same route.
Freight services between the Marlborough region and South island are being maintained, albeit deliveries have slowed due to longer travel from/to Christchurch. All other destinations within Islands were serviced as normal, except that delays remain in the Wellington region as they continue to address the additional task of Inter- Island bridging services. We ask for your tolerance should freight delays arise.
The Cook Strait and Pass roads within the South Island have restricted capacity. Coastal shipping between Auckland and Lyttelton now plays a heightened role to take pressure off the Cook Strait. We expect announcements to surface imposing restrictions through the Lewis Pass to allow large scale engineering work to commence.
Government agencies continue to liaise with our industry and are fully aware of the impact this would impose.
We no long believe an option to divert a KiwiRail ferry between Wellington to Lyttelton will emerge. Issues also arise with routing freight through the narrow Wellington corridor which will only exacerbate current congestion.
While the Cook Strait corridor remains at a premium, those customers who traditionally send bulk tonnage via rail/coastal services will face additional constraints. We again ask customers to send freight in smaller increments to allow our operational teams to maintain consistent flows and employ every option available to keep the freight moving.
Mainfreight Group has introduced a disruption surcharge of 15%, this surcharge will take effect from Monday 21st November (today). We (ISL) will not impose this additional surcharge on normal freight free orders, $375.00 ex GST and over. However all other orders, including special freight rate customers, will be charged the 15% surcharge. This will apply to all orders normally sent via Daily Freight. We will review this as things progress over the coming weeks.
1. Coastal 7-9 days transit
2. Road/Rail to Wellington 5-6 days via Lewis Pass (dependent on access)
3. Road /Rail to Wellington 6-7 days via Arthur's Pass (dependent on access)
4. Road/Rail to Wellington 5-6 days via a ferry being diverted directly into Lyttelton (not a tangible option at this time)
Options 2 & 3 will incorporate a mixture of trans-shipping in Spring Creek and direct runs.
Just after midnight New Zealand time a severe earthquake struck the mid South Island region of New Zealand. Ongoing aftershocks continue as day light emerges and damage assessments continue.
We can report that rail services in the lower North Island and South Island are suspended pending track inspections. Inter-Island rail services have been cancelled until further notice. State Highway One North of Christchurch and outlaying regional road networks have suffered damage with road closures are in place. Engineers at first day light will commence inspections to bridges and other infrastructure. An early tsunami warning for the East Coast region appears to have abated albeit a warning remains in low laying areas.
At 5.00 am this morning the Wellington council publically announced a recommendation that workers stay at home due to passenger rail services suspended and the CBD requiring clearance from structural engineers for safety purposes . Other outlaying towns and parts of Christchurch are equally disrupted. Our Freight Partners (NZ Couriers, Post Haste and Mainfreight Group) will where practical endeavour to provide limited delivery services for freight already in their Wellington and Christchurch depots. To avoid unnecessary congestion they advise that they will suspend collecting general freight destined for these two regions and outlaying districts until further notice.
We trust that anyone affected by these events and their families are OK.
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