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Logistics companies work to provide services to Christchurch

Wednesday 23rd February 2011

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Mainfreight believes the impact on its operations from yesterday's earthquake may be less than the September earthquake, while Lyttelton Port of Christchurch is still assessing damage to its port.

Logistics companies were today working to help staff affected by the magnitude 6.3 earthquake and to help emergency supplies to get through.

Lyttelton Port of Christchurch released a short statement this morning via Ports of Auckland, which said the port is damaged and an engineering assessment will be completed in the next 12 hours.

"Our first priority was for the safety of all staff and we can advise that fortunately, there were no injuries sustained at the port," the port, which is a major export gateway used by dairy co-operative Fonterra and state-owned coal company Solid Energy, said.

"Until we have a clearer picture of the damage sustained to key infrastructure, port operations are suspended until 1700 hours, February 23," the port said.

The port wants to establish key services as quickly as possible to ensure food and all essential supplies can get in.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid said his company dispatched eight B-train trucks, which have two trailers, with emergency water supplies to Christchurch last night and more were being ordered by customers.

The company was sending two senior managers to Christchurch to "see what we can do for our people".

Mainfreight had a significant branch in Christchurch and a range of business units in the city but it believed its operations were less affected than by the September 4 earthquake.

This was because its operations were in the suburb of Sockburn, rather than in the central city where damage was greatest.

"It seems to me from a Mainfreight perspective we are concerned as hell for our people but our operations are relatively unscathed. Our priority is to ensure our people are okay," Braid said.

Fonterra said it delivered 200,000 litres of fresh water from its Clandeboye plant in South Canterbury to Christchurch this morning. The water was delivered in rail pods usually used to transport milk. The water is being distributed to six distribution points at schools in Christchurch.

The milk co-operative is transporting more bulk storage containers to Clandeboye as it is looking to deliver one million litres of water to Christchurch.

Strait Shipping, which operates ferries on the Cook Strait, is offering heavily discounted fares for those heading to and from the South Island.

Anyone needing to cross Cook Strait as a result of the earthquake should contact the Bluebridge call centre on 0800 844 844 and quote Cantab relief. Adult fares are $25, children $10 and cars $60 one way.

Emergency services and relief related freight is also being given priority by the freight service with a significant civil defence contingent already having travelled. For freight requirements please call 0800 162 322.

Air New Zealand has also provided discounted fares.



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