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Coastal Shipping Plays Key Role in Earthquake Relief

New Zealand Shipping Federation media release (March 11, 2011)

Coastal Shipping Plays Key Role in Earthquake Relief

New Zealand’s coastal shipping infrastructure played a vital role in the fast delivery of emergency equipment, personnel and earthquake relief supplies to Canterbury following the devastating February 22 earthquake, says Shipping Federation head Sheryl Ellison.

Ms Ellison -- speaking on behalf of New Zealand’s seven Shipping Federation members -- says the existing domestic supply chain provided by shipping operators was fully utilised within hours of the earthquake.

“Our members made shipping earthquake related emergency services and relief related equipment an absolute priority immediately following the event,” says Ms Ellison.

The role New Zealand’s shipping industry played in earthquake response in the hours and weeks following the earthquake include:

• Pacifica Shipping being the first containership operator to berth at Lyttelton following the earthquake, delivering 100,000 litres of bottled water and vital medical supplies

• Silver Fern Shipping making two fuel deliveries into the Port of Timaru to cater for shortages after high demand in the Christchurch area, with aviation fuel also delivered as soon as access had been gained to the Port of Lyttelton

• both the Interislander and Strait Shipping prioritising freight to enable emergency services -- including Ambulance, Army, Fire Service, Police and Search and Rescue -- to be across Cook Strait and on the ground in Christchurch by daylight the following morning

• both companies continue to prioritise the movement of earthquake-related equipment with dozens of trucks containing supplies and equipment -- including machinery, generators, portaloos, food, water tanks and building supplies -- on every southbound sailing

Holcim and Golden Bay will play an important role in the rebuilding process.

Ms Ellison says it is extremely reassuring to know the existing domestic coastal shipping network operates quickly and efficiently to provide essential links in a crisis.

She hopes the Government gives due consideration to the needs of the industry in its current review of the National Infrastructure Plan, because New Zealand as a nation is reliant on shipping for both the domestic and international supply chains to function efficiently.


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