Earthquake Transport Update "Day 36"
20/12/2016 (Courtesy of Mainfreight Group)
The inland road into Kaikoura has reopened to the general public allowing greater certainty for movement of freight into and out of the region. State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura is also expected to open soon, providing another access to the region. It is too early at this stage to determine what restrictions may be imposed.
The recent Government announcement allocating funds for reconstruction of the road and rail network along the east coast of the South Island was welcome news for all New Zealanders. This is a long-term solution, and we don’t expect to see any significant change emerge until late 2017/early 2018.
KiwiRail has served notice of their intention to increase costs in December for all vehicles crossing on the Interislander ferries (between Islands). In recent days we have managed to defer this increase until the end of January 2017. We have always known the Cook Strait corridor was likely to attract higher costs and some access restrictions. We continue to challenge and investigate existing and alternative services as we settle into the post-earthquake period, and will convey our findings to our customers in the New Year.
The Port of Lyttelton has served notice of pending strike action this weekend, which may require additional consideration in how we move freight inter-Island (between Islands)
Intra-Island (within Island) seasonal volumes have been high, as retail and industry sectors deal with record trade. As a result, some delays arose as our teams managed higher than anticipated seasonal volumes whilst allocating resource and equipment to address intra-Island challenges. A concerted effort over this weekend has largely dealt with those lags, and we are back on track with expected services.
The year ahead
We recommend in the New Year, after the seasonal pressure abates, that our customers look to calibrate their door-to-door supply chains with a 5-6 day North to South Island transit tolerance. South to North Island will be 4-5 days given increased capacity moving in this direction.
Transit options and methodology will be advised in the New Year as costs and new services emerge. We have noticed an strong uptake with customers increasing or holding inventories in Christchurch & Auckland to maintain an intra-Island (within island) just in time (JIT) delivery promise.