STRAIT REBOUNDS, INTERISLANDER STILL IMPACTED

Strait Shipping commercial general manager Ed Menzies says business is now “back to normal” following November’s Kaikoura earthquake, whereas the Interislander is reportedly facing an ongoing downturn.

After an initial dip in passenger bookings following the 7.8-magnitude event, the market quickly returned to its buoyant peak summer season levels with no sign of slowing, says Mr Menzies.

“Meanwhile freight volumes increased significantly in the weeks after the earthquake — a trend that has continued through January and isn’t expected to change in the short to medium term,” he says.

“With our vital Cook Strait link even more important following the quake, it’s very much business as usual as we work 24/7 to move freight and people seamlessly between north and south.”

Mr Menzies adds that Strait Shipping has not made any schedule changes as a result of the quake and has both freight and passenger capacity on most sailings.

Contrastingly, KiwiRail sales and commercial general manager Alan Piper is understood to have recently E-mailed customers advising that the badly damaged Main North Line has had a “material impact on freight volumes by as much as 50% on Interislander ferries”.

It has been speculated that KiwiRail is contemplating parking up the Kaitaki for a period in Nelson.