Possible freight delays after SA floods

28/01/2022 - 15:55

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Food suppliers and supermarkets are scrambling to find ways to get produce to WA, after it was announced flood-damaged rail lines in SA could take at least 12 days to be repaired.

Possible freight delays after SA floods
The Australian Rail Track Corporation said a rain event in central South Australia last week had led to widespread flooding.

Food suppliers and supermarkets are scrambling to find ways to get produce across the country, after it was announced flood-damaged rail lines in South Australia could take at least 12 days to be repaired.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation said a rain event in central South Australia last week had led to widespread flooding, washing away 17 sections of rail.

It advised eight sites had been repaired, but many remained inaccessible.

On Wednesday, ARTC said it was reasonable to expect that the track would remain closed for 12 to 17 days.

New West Foods, which supplies restaurants, stadiums and facilities like aged care homes and prisons, sent a letter to its customers flagging delays and shortages of some food brands.

“This is unprecedented and unfortunately we don’t know the extent that this will affect us, and you, our customer, as any option to transport stock are very limited,” it read.

“Unfortunately, we you can appreciate, this is beyond our control, and whilst we do carry excess stock, it is impossible to plan for such an event.”

New West Foods managing director Damon Venoutsos said by early next week dairy products, including cream, cheeses and yoghurts, would be impacted and small goods like ham and bacon would be out of stock by next Friday.

He said his team was working around the clock to see what stock could be moved by road to Perth.

However, the letter to customers said road options were limited due WA’s hard border.

National supermarkets Coles and Woolworths said they were monitoring the situation.

A Coles spokesperson said it was going to be a challenging time for customers and team members as it anticipated delays to transport deliveries, impacting the availability of products in its stores.

“We are continuing to review our stock levels and are working hard with our suppliers, transport partners and government to get products through the network as quickly as possible,” they said.

The spokesperson said Coles had introduced temporary purchase limits for Northern Territory stores, on top of those already in place to curb panic buying.

A Woolworths spokesperson said the supermarket had good stock levels and WA distribution centres heading into the weekend.

“We’re also working closely with our key transport and logistics partners on alternative freight options,” the spokesperson said.

“As always, we ask customers to be mindful of others in the community and buy only what they need.”

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