More than 1,000 of New Zealand’s finest thoroughbred yearlings will be trucked in and out of the Karaka 2020 sales over the next week in a massive logistics operation, Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Nick Leggett says.

“Thoroughbred breeding makes a strong contribution to the New Zealand economy and buyers from around the world will be opening their wallets to secure these talented horses, to the tune of about $80 million in total, during a week of sales in Auckland,” Leggett says.

“These very valuable young horses, some of which may well sell individually for more than $1 million, need to be trucked into the sales complex in time to allow potential buyers to get a good look at them, then be trucked out once they are sold to make way for the next lot of yearlings for sale, over a six-day period. This is done by a combination of stud farms with their own trucks and drivers and Majestic Horse Floats, which bring in about 50 percent of the horses and transport out about 70 percent.

“About 45 percent of all yearling purchases head overseas, so once the bill of sale is signed, many head straight to the airport, adding to the country’s export earnings.

“While New Zealanders are still driving back from the beach in relaxed mode, they may forget that roads are also our business arteries, that keep our economy moving.

“This is a critical time of year for the thoroughbred industry and no one wants horses in a truck held up unnecessarily in the summer heat. It is vital the logistics run like clockwork.

“There are some things other road users need to be mindful of and hopefully, they will exercise some consideration. Roundabouts for example, can be challenging for a horse’s balance, so the driver needs to consider that and adjust their speed accordingly. These trucks also can’t brake suddenly, because that stresses a horse’s balance, so don’t pull out in front of them unless you have the appropriate space.

“From an RTF perspective, it is essential the Government understands the importance of the roading infrastructure and its role in driving the New Zealand economy. They need to understand all the nuances of the different types of freight, such as livestock or perishable goods that cannot be delayed by substandard roads, or random speed limits. Exports, such as these horses, need to get to their end destination safely and on time.

“Not everything can be shifted to rail, so ongoing roading investment is essential.”

Karaka 2020 runs from Sunday 26 January until Friday 28 January.

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