Interisland Ferry Maintenance – Effect on Rail and Freight Movements

We have received notice that the Interisland ferry, Aratere, is heading to Singapore for its scheduled two yearly dry-dock maintenance. The ship is due to leave New Zealand on 20 June 2016 and is expected to return late-August.  This is the first time in many decades that Interislander will not have a rail ferry operating across Cook Strait.
It is important to note that during the maintenance period, rail capacity will be reduced for some services by up to 40%. This means there will be a significant reduction in the overall capacity of freight movement between the islands.  
We understand that the Kaiarahi and Kaitaki ferries will be operating on increased daily schedules during this period and that all rail freight will be transferred to trailers and towed onto the ferries in the same way that road freight is currently loaded.  Works are currently underway at both the Picton and Wellington terminals to assist with the greater road freight volumes expected.
With the return of the Aratere and normal rail operations in August, the Kaiarahi and Kaitaki will undergo their own maintenance surveys with each being out of action for a week. It is anticipated that all Interisland ferry services will be running as normal by 5 September.
To avoid disruption to your business due to the reduced capacity and extended transit times in the coming months, we strongly advise that you get prepared now.
As a starting point, you should consider the following:

  • Allow an additional working day transit between islands.
  • Establish or increase your stock holding in both islands to minimize inter island transport during the maintenance period.
  • Notify your customers of potential delays with delivery times in the coming months and where possible, ask them to hold more stock prior to the maintenance period.

The ferry maintenance plans do not have to cause you problems – so as long as you plan ahead now.  As your trusted logistics partner we are here to help and can offer advice and practical solutions to assist you through this period.


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