Following this morning’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake rail services in the lower North Island and South Island are suspended pending track inspections; in addition the Inter-Island ferry/rail services have been cancelled until further notice. State Highway One north of Christchurch and the outlaying regional road networks have suffered damage with road closures in place. Bridges and other infrastructure are being assessed for damage.
News footage clearly shows the main rail trunk line and SH1 between Picton and Christchurch being closed by slips and potential further damage. Wellington has also been affected by this 7.5 magnitude earthquake with a lot of businesses closed until the damage has been assessed to the buildings and infrastructure.
As a result of these events we are unable to move freight from Auckland destined to Wellington and the South Island today.
For Wellington bound freight from Auckland we are expecting an update on Tuesday with the aim of despatching the freight on Tuesday evening via road.
As for the Port operations: Wellington's CentrePort has suspended operations until further notice as it deals with damage to its buildings and liquefaction from last night's earthquake. The capital's port authority is among those facing disruptions after the quake where damage has been sustained to buildings and the port in addition to some liquefaction and differential settlement in places as per CentrePort’s chief executive Derek Nind. CentrePort was working through a process with tenants to ensure all buildings were safe before they were re-occupied, which would happen over the coming days, he said.
For southbound freight to the South Island from Auckland both rail and road (via SH1 in the upper South Island) are inaccessible at this stage. Cook Strait ferry sailings have been cancelled after the quake damaged the link bridges at the terminals at both Picton and Wellington. Bluebridge also suspended its Cook Strait ferry service due to damage at its ports.
Areas clear for deliveries in the South Island are south of Christchurch to Invercargill; in the North Island as far south as Palmerston North.
With inspections to roads, ports and infrastructure continuing we are seeking alternative routes and modes of transport between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch which include Coastal shipping as Port of Lyttelton advising that inspections have not revealed anything that is of a major concern where bulk cargo services in the Inner Harbour have resumed; Container Terminal services are available and the Christchurch to Lyttelton rail route, which was closed, is now open. In addition MidlandPort and CityDepot have continued to operate as normal. The railway line south of Christchurch is open, as is the Rolleston to Christchurch route. However, the Christchurch to Port route remains closed and we are awaiting further updates from KiwiRail.
We are awaiting confirmation of our requested additional bookings from the shipping lines between Auckland and Lyttelton.
Challenges with freight movement we have at the moment are:
Auckland to Wellington
• Coastal shipping – with damage to CentrePort
• Road – short term – expecting to resume within the next day or two with restricted access to certain places due to movement in the roads and liquefaction.
Auckland to Christchurch (and vice versa)
• Rail - not until further notice; expect weeks.
• Coastal Shipping – possible barring available capacity on coastal vessels.
• Road – not at the moment with ferry crossings (between Wellington and Picton) being suspended until further notice; with SH1 in the upper South Island being closed, alternative routes to Christchurch are being sought by carriers including via Nelson to Greymouth then crossing Arthurs Pass. This is dependent on the bridges being able to handle the weight of the HPMV trucks.
• Air – although a significantly more expensive option, this remains an option.
Christchurch to Wellington
• Rail – not until further notice; expect weeks.
• Road – not until further notice due to slips on SH1 north of Christchurch as well as damage to wharves in Picton and Wellington
• Coastal - not until further notice due to damage to Wellington’s CentrePort; an alternative Coastal service could include discharging in Napier then roading down to Wellington if CentrePort remains closed for an extended period of time.