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Earthquake road damage limits courier, freight services

Monday 14th November 2016

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Some courier deliveries are continuing today following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the upper South Island which has killed two people and triggered tsunami warnings, although road damage will impact freight over the coming days.

Dean Bracewell, managing director at courier company Freightways, said the company is still learning about what the impact of this morning's earthquakes means for its business, and most importantly all its employees are safe.

Freightways' information management facilities are fine with no obvious damage, Bracewell said, and courier deliveries are happening "largely as per normal" today.

Inter-Islander freight has been delayed as the ferry services have been suspended, while Freightways' Christchurch air freight is continuing as per normal with the airport open. 

"We have a range of contingencies to put in place for Christchurch, Nelson, Blenheim and the top of the South Island where road access had been most impacted, and we are in the hands of the authorities about that access," Bracewell said. 

Transport and logistics group Mainfreight said rail services in the lower North Island and South Island have been suspended pending track inspections, while Inter-Island rail services have been cancelled until further notice.

"Where practical we will endeavour to provide limited delivery services for freight already in our Wellington and Christchurch depots," the company said in a statement on its website. "To avoid unnecessary congestion at this time whilst connections into these regions have been severely impacted we advise early that we will suspend collecting general freight destined for these two regions and outlaying districts until further notice.

"Our teams will look to prioritise the movement of critical supplies such as food as options emerge. Our operational teams are currently surveying all possible options to navigate network blockages as information comes available."

State-owned rail operator KiwiRail, which runs the inter-island ferry service, has said Wellington's ports have sustained damage. Council-owned operator CentrePort, which was damaged during the 2013 quakes centred in the upper South Island, has yet to comment.

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