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Supplier Update: Supply Chain (East-West Rail)


17 February 2022

Dear Valued Supplier Partner,

The east-west rail corridor reopened yesterday after the longest outage in history caused by “once in 200-year” flooding. Rail providers are focusing on clearing goods already lodged before moving to priority freight to support Western Australia.

While the return of rail service is positive, given the unprecedented outage and limited rail capacity to clear the backlog, recovery remains dependent on the continuing use of road and coastal shipping.

With a balance across all three channels of coastal, rail and road, Coles modelling optimistically suggests returning to business-as-usual no sooner than mid-April. Without the use of coastal shipping and road, shortfalls in WA may persist for many months.

Given the shortage of temperature-controlled containers, we are encouraging suppliers to utilise coastal shipping for ambient products and consider road for refrigerated freight, in addition to any volume that is transported by rail.

Thank you to all suppliers who have supported so far on the uptake of the alternate routes. We look forward to continuing to work with you to leverage these alternative networks for recovery.

For those yet to utilise alternative transport options and requiring more information on routes, indicative cost or possible solutions to your situation, please contact your supply chain manager. As always, we are happy to work with you to find a collaborative solution to ongoing transport challenges.

Thank you again for your ongoing support at this challenging time.

Greg Davis

Chief Executive, Commercial & Express

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