Be patient and have a back-up plan.
Those were the two key messages to industry from the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) as the severe weather system continues to hammer the south-east part of the state.
“I can’t say with certainty, but with my experience, and everything I see, the Bruce Highway is not going to be going to be open for some days yet,” said CEO Gary Mahon.
“We’ve already got inbound on the Warrego open and they can go out on the Cunningham.
“But our general message is do your contingency planning around heading out on the western loop, whether that’s heading north or south, and keep in mind NSW because that’s an unfolding situation.
Mahon said he also wants to hammer home the message, if it’s flooded, forget it.
“There are plenty of photos around of semis and b-doubles up to their windscreen wipers in water. So don’t take any chances. Be patient; if it’s flooded, forget it.
“Patience is going to be key.”
Mahon also advised operators to make sure drivers heading off with few more provisions than usual.
“Just in case they get caught somewhere, or held up for unexpected periods of time.”
“I know some of the fleets are looking at having to helicopter drivers out of Gympie because there are some who are quite stuck, and that situation is not going to change for some days yet.”
Big Rigs understands that Lindsay Transport is one of those fleets that has airlifted drivers from flood-stricken Gympie and has contacted the company for comment.
Mahon said the bigger fleets are also now moving “quite a lot of freight” off rail on to trucks over the next few days to ensure the supply chains stay moving.
He said the Rocklea Markets in Brisbane is a classic example of vital supply chain impacted by the severe weather system.
“I know there are a quite a few pallets of freight floating around in the water at Rocklea, and that will disrupt for some days yet as well.”
Brisbane’s iconic XXXX brewery was also flooded with photos of trucks underwater doing the rounds on social media over the weekend.
XXXX brewery, Brisbane pic.twitter.com/09fjrS38qt
— Scuba Steve 🤿 🇮🇪 🇦🇺 🇩🇪 (@ScubaScuba88) February 27, 2022
The Castlemaine Perkins Brewery posted on its Facebook page that the situation was being assessed.
“The safety of our team and our partners is our number one priority,” the post said.
“We are working as quickly as we can to assess the situation being mindful of further adverse weather and will provide more updates as soon as possible. The Alehouse and Brewery tours are closed for today.”
Another social media post showed a BOC gas tanker submerged on the Ipswich motorway at the Oxley roundabout.
“The driver of the tanker is unharmed,” a BOC spokesperson told Big Rigs via email.
“BOC is monitoring the tanker until it can be safely returned to the BOC depot. BOC will launch an investigation into the incident.”
Mahon added that this latest emergency in the state only reinforced the need for a inland freight route that is as “immune as possible” to flood events.
“One of the bigggest flood events was at the base of the Toowoomba Bypass on the new section so there needs to be some recalculation about the floodway planning there,” he said.
“That cut off the both the bypass and the Old Toll Bar. I understand it’s open again for inbound, but we’re waiting to hear about outbound.”
Update [2.45pm, AEDT, February 28]
The Bruce Highway has since reopened from Brisbane to Traveston.