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After a devastating earthquake, the city of Christchurch required humanitarian aid and disaster relief logistics.

On Tuesday 22 February 2011 Christchurch city was torn apart by its second major earthquake in six months. More than 180 people were killed, 10,000 homes became uninhabitable and much of the city centre was damaged beyond repair.

Toll has a significant business presence and many employees living in Christchurch.

The Challenge

Immediately after the quake, we identified three priority areas where we could help by providing logistics support - fuel, chemical toilets and fresh water.

Fuel supply was threatened by damage but essential for the vehicles and equipment needed to deliver much-needed emergency services.

Portable chemical toilets were required because of widespread damage to the city’s sewage system. Civil Defence estimated that between 40,000 and 60,000 portable toilets would be needed to ensure there wasn’t a major health and hygiene problem.

The Solution

At first the focus on fresh water supply was securing supplies of bottled water. Then there was a major exercise to have two large desalination plants flown to Christchurch from Australia aboard RAAF C17 Globemasters, and installed at the nearby seaside township of Brighton.

A chain of local filling stations was established in areas of the city where no water supply was available, and water was trucked in from the Ashburton District Council supplies and from Blenheim.

The procurement of chemical toilets involved the creation of a global supply chain operation drawing on manufacturers and suppliers in China, the Netherlands, the US and Australia, as well as existing stocks in New Zealand.

A series of chartered Boeing 747 freighter flights, involving Air China, Malaysia Air, Cathay Pacific and Southern Air as well as sea shipments into the ports at Nelson and Lyttelton, were arranged to achieve delivery into the country.

Groups of Toll staff from other parts of the country relocated to Christchurch to help relieve the pressure.

Arrangements were also made to ensure that the services of a professionally qualified team of stress management counsellors from SEED, a specialist consultancy, were available on a confidential on-call basis.

The Results

Toll managed to keep the flow of fuel, fresh water and hygiene facilities at a tolerable level for the emergency relief operations and townsfolk.

At the main Christchurch depot, Toll established a water filling station and a small home tanker operation to ensure the local team, their families and key customers had access to water as well as showering and washing facilities.

The Toll depot became a major relief hub. Up to three operational shifts a day was normal during the period of peak demand.

A special seismic monitoring system from Calgary, Canada, and 14 suction trucks and pumps from Australia were also sourced and delivered by the global supply chain to help the relief operation.

Contact details

National Support Office - New Zealand

Phone number

New Zealand