Fragile road access to Napier has been restored but Gisborne and Wairoa are still cut off by road says Steve Chapple, National Road Carriers Association (NRC) commercial transport specialist for the lower North Island.
“Road access to Napier is very fragile and people are being asked to only travel if its urgent – extreme caution is advised. There is a strong combined effort with Waka Kotahi, emergency services, civil defence and local authorities pulling together to prioritise necessities such as freight gaining access to the region.
“Communication has been really challenging but as that has been restored, we are hearing reports of truck drivers successfully getting through with much needed supplies to cyclone ravaged communities. We really feel for everyone affected and on behalf of the industry we are doing everything we can to make sure the Hawkes Bay is supported. Mahony Transport trucks travelled overnight on Tuesday to Hastings and another load will be going over tomorrow.
“There is still no road access north of Napier to Wairoa or Gisborne – these communities are still largely cut off by road. We know supermarkets are flying essential items into Wairoa or undertaking escorted civil defence convoys to Gisborne to get supplies through and supporting these communities is a high priority.”
For freight companies needing urgent access to Gisborne, NRC advise making contact with Gisborne CDEM to get permission to join this convoy (email@example.com)
Mr Chapple said Taranaki feels relieved to have not taken a direct hit from the cyclone, with the main damage caused by high winds lifting roofs and knocking the odd tree across the road. “They feel fortunate compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the North Island, although some parts of Taranaki do have power outages.
“In Manawatu high river levels across the region have caused some road closures with flooding but drivers have largely been able to work around these and keep the supply chain routes moving well.”
Mr Chapple said trucking companies are ready to deliver supplies to places that have been cut off by slips, flooding and tree falls as soon as the roads are passable. Driver safety is paramount and trucking companies are doing frequent risk assessments on road conditions.
He said 93 per cent of goods are delivered by trucks so when roads do re-open it is important trucks are given priority to ensure essential supplies are delivered to cyclone-stricken communities.