Despite it being the summer months, La Nina means it’s raining in many parts of Australia. And when we say ‘raining’… that’s an understatement. Over 200 millimetres of water fell in some areas, leading the South Australian Government to declare a state of emergency.
Floodwaters have now isolated the towns of Coober Pedy in South Australia and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. They are also making deliveries to Darwin via Adelaide very difficult.
There are also issues with the roads and rail lines between Adelaide and WA, which you can read about here.
As of early February, the highway spanning the 3000 kilometres between Adelaide and Darwin has been closed for at least a week. According to the ABC, “The Stuart Highway remains under half a metre of water at Glendambo, preventing direct travel between Adelaide and the Northern Territory.”
This means trucks are unable to travel to regional destinations in South Australia and the Northern Territory. To add to this, previous floods have washed away the ground underneath rail lines, meaning that using rail to transfer goods between Adelaide and Darwin isn’t an option either.
The lack of road access means supplies are limited. The outback town of Coober Pedy has gone seven days without a delivery of fresh produce. Further north, Alice Springs is in a similar situation, with supermarket supplies dwindling.
Over the next few days, there will be military flights into Coober Pedy and other areas to deliver essential goods. However, what’s not clear is when the roads will reopen to traffic. If rain holds off and floodwaters recede, trucks will be able to return to the most direct route but the forecast is uncertain.
Getting goods to Alice Springs, Coober Pedy and beyond
If you supply clients in these areas, you are probably wondering about the best course of action right now.
One option is to wait things out for a few days or a couple of weeks. Once water levels drop, the roads will need to be assessed to check if they are able to withstand traffic again.
Vendors can also consider paying costs for vehicles to take ‘the long road’.
This ‘long road’ to isolated areas is an extra 1500 kilometres and more, passing through towns like Broken Hill in NSW and Mount Isa in Queensland. Understandably, this significantly impacts the money and time required to make a delivery.
Connect with the right people
Further weather events have the potential to place even more stress on delivery channels in far-flung parts of the country.
If your company has clients in regional parts of South Australia, the Northern Territory or even Western Australia who are waiting on deliveries, it’s important to be across exactly what’s happening. You also need to have the right connections with freight companies that have rapidly implemented a ‘Plan B’ to get supplies past flooded roadways.
Need to ship goods to regional Australia? Contact EFS to figure out the most viable delivery options for your business.