The purpose of this Advisory is to inform you of progress to improve the movement of trucks and their goods in particular, livestock across Cook Strait, and what all operators crossing the Cook Strait can do to help with this.

Actions to improve the availability of crossings

Firstly, earlier this week I urgently sought information from livestock operators in regards to their forecast demand for crossings and I want to thank all the operators that provided that information. It has been a big help to understanding the size of the problem.

Yesterday morning I met with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and representatives from KiwiRail to discuss the issues and develop a way forward. For the purpose of this meeting KiwiRail was seen as a collaborative partner with Bluebridge in terms of providing capacity for freight crossings.

Our discussion was future focused and one of the challenges impacting available capacity is operators over-booking their demand and then making last minute cancellations which leads to crossings being under-utilized. I believe all attendees at the meeting understood and appreciated the dilemma transport operators face and why they sometimes over book however, I undertook to request operators make every reasonable effort to align their bookings with expected demand as this will help free up some capacity. In addition, when cancelling bookings, I request all operators do this at the earliest opportunity as late notifications do not typically leave sufficient time for that space to be filled.

Interislander has committed to reviewing its schedule and forward booking profiles in an effort to see if there is any extra capacity that can be made available on its ships to assist and if any additional sailings can be added into the schedule. On a quick snapshot of forward bookings, the Interislander team has advised that in the six-week period 9 May to 19 June 2022 there are approximately 500 bookings already in play for stock travel between the islands.

Interislander representatives have also undertaken to work collaboratively with the Strait Shipping team to provide as much capacity as possible.

We (MPI, Transporting New Zealand and Interislander) have formed a working group to explicitly manage this risk and the group will be meeting weekly. Further information will be provided as it comes to hand.