Service Updates


22-Nov-2016 11:00 a.m. - Minal Gulabdas
While we are probably months away from things returning to normal for our inter-island services, and Wellington CBD is a work in progress, all things considered we are managing to operate relatively smoothly in the circumstances.

Here are some of the typical FAQs we have been asked in the past few days.

Are inter-island road delivery times back to normal yet?

We are managing two days north to south at present but south to north is three days. As Christmas volumes ramp up and if ferry sailing schedules remain limited, we may struggle to maintain this. However if the Wellington linkspan can be repaired quickly, ferry sailings should be restored to full schedule.

How are your drivers coping in Wellington CBD? Can the sender or recipient of a parcel to a cordoned building have the parcel redirected?

Cordons remain in place around a number of buildings. Any customers worried about items sent to those sites can contact us and we will redirect to another address. For latest updates on city outages and closures see:

Do the linehaul trucks operating between Picton and Chch on SH7 now require two drivers?

Still with only one driver but they must take a 30 minute break after 5.5 hours of driving.

How long is it taking a linehaul truck to reach Chch from Picton (or vice versa)?

It varies between 5.5 and 7.5 hours, dependent on traffic volumes, time of day and day of the week. And note previous question for break time requirement.

How are your airfreight loadings – still at capacity or is there available space?

Airfreight volumes are up, but we are flying additional rotations to cope with volume and are running chaser vehicles to all South Island destinations to have freight in place overnight, albeit the deliveries may be later in the day than normal.

My company normally uses your interisland road freight service, but because of the possible delays, can I airfreight at surface rates during this exceptional time?

Unfortunately we cannot offer this. Airfreight services are charged at usual rates, regardless of circumstance.

Now that there is limited access to Kaikoura via Army convoy, can I send parcels there again?

The Army trucks are carrying emergency supplies only. We are still asking customers not to send anything to Kaikoura until further notice, as we can do nothing with it at present and it will be returned to customer until we can be certain we have permitted access and can operate as normal.

Where can I get more updates on road conditions and earthquake probabilities?

For latest road updates, see NZTA website:

For earthquake updates, scenarios and probabilities, see GeoNet website:

Inter Island & Wellington Update

18-Nov-2016 11:00 a.m. - Minal Gulabdas
Very strong airfreight volumes again last night from Auckland to the South Island with resultant inbound delays in to all branches.

NZTA reports that crews are continuing work to assess the safety of several key South Island routes, clear slips and safely re-open roads as soon as conditions allow.

Lewis Pass

The Lewis Pass road (SH7) will likely be the main state highway route from Christchurch to Picton for several months, given the amount of work required to clear the large slips which have closed SH1.

It is clear that the roading issues in the upper South Island will take a considerable amount of time to resolve and the options we have in place will be with us for the foreseeable future. As this is now well documented, please assume that there will be ongoing delays to the interisland road network and with the connectivity from Christchurch to Nelson and Blenheim until further notice. Unless there are any other updates of significance that will impact the road network we will cease the inclusion of this in any future updates.


All scheduled Aratere sailings have been cancelled until Sunday 20 Nov 2016 and freight that would have been carried by this vessel will be transferred to other ferries.

Wellington CBD

In the last 24 hours there have been additional buildings in the Wellington CBD that have been declared an earthquake risk. These are being assessed by structural engineers and new cordons are in place around buildings considered at risk of collapse.

Access to the CBD is therefore constantly being re-assessed and modified because of the risk from unstable buildings

We are doing our best to bring service standards to as near normal a level as possible, given the circumstances caused by the earthquakes and the wild weather in central New Zealand this week. As always, we appreciate your co-operation and patience.

Mainstream will apply a surcharge of 15% to inter-island rates from Monday the 21st November 2016 INTER-ISLAND SERVICE UPDATE.

18-Nov-2016 11:00 a.m. - Minal Gulabdas
Freight is now moving freely between the North and South Islands via State Highway 7 but the additional distance via this route and the reduced ferry sailing frequency continues to add to normal transit times.

From Monday the 21st November Mainstream plans to add further linehaul trucks and drivers to their inter-island service. They have effectively replaced the capacity lost through no rail link operating between Picton and Christchurch with high capacity road units and the additional drivers required to operate them. This added resource will see their inter-island service return to near normal transit times of between 2 -3 days. There may still be some disruption to sending Dangerous Goods inter-island until the Cook Strait ferry’s resume their normal operations.

The costs to operate under these new and challenging conditions however can’t be ignored. Whilst they have endeavoured to minimise the effect of any increase, costs in operating the additional fleet, drivers and the longer distances travelled are significant and cannot be absorbed within the current inter-island rates. As a result, Mainstream will apply a surcharge of 15% to inter-island rates from Monday the 21st of November. This applies to all freight sent from the North Island to South Island destinations excluding Nelson and Blenheim and for freight sent from the South Island (excluding Nelson and Blenheim) to the North Island. Goods sent from Blenheim to all other South Island destinations will also be subject to surcharge. This relies on the alternate route of State Highway 7 remaining open to heavy vehicles. Mainstream may be required to review the surcharge should access to this route cease.

The surcharge will ultimately be removed once the main road and rail routes have been restored.

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact your account manager.

Wellington Deliveries

17-Nov-2016 10:30 a.m. - Minal Gulabdas
After the issues with Wellington in the start of the week there was a surge in volume out of that region last night as businesses returned to work and caught up on the previous two days of little or no activity. Airfreight volumes between Palmerston North and Christchurch in particular were stretched with additional flights and third party operators having to be scheduled. There will be delays to normal overnight delivery standards in to Christchurch for much of this freight as we endeavour to cope with the additional volume.

Inter Island road freight is flowing as albeit with reduced ferry sailings.

Interislander have confirmed that the ferries Kaitaki and Kaiarahi have resumed sailing on a temporary timetable.

Aratere sailings remain suspended due to damage to the Wellington linkspan. At this stage the Aratere is not expected to return to service until next week.

A severe weather watch is in place for the Wellington and Marlborough regions with high swells at this stage predicted for Thursday evening. This has the potential to halt sailings if the conditions dictate.

We are currently achieving connections into Christchurch with north to south bound freight which is allowing us to meet expected timeframes as previously advertised but the same cannot be said for south to north where we are experiencing up to an additional 24-48 hour delays in delivery times.

Another weather system has hit in the lower South Island and we have potential issues in to Invercargill, Queenstown and Central Otago as reports come through of delays due to the weather conditions and flooding in those areas.

It is being widely reported through the news media at present that the freight and transport industry have been hit hard following the events of Monday morning and that trucking costs have escalated considerably with the additional distance, travel time and labour. This will be an ongoing feature of inter island freight movements in the foreseeable future and it is important to note that we are currently considering a surcharge for this service along with other freight suppliers in the market. You will be notified in writing of any potential changes and the timeframe for implementation should this be implemented.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

South Island Transit

16-Nov-2016 12:30 p.m. - Minal Gulabdas
The Marlborough and Tasman areas will suffer delivery delays into all parts of the region as the timeframe for linehaul vehicles travelling to and from Christchurch on SH7 now take a minimum 2 hours longer to complete the journey. These issues will remain a challenge at least until Christmas.