Fonterra has confirmed all of its staff in New Zealand are safe following the earthquake overnight and there is no major damage to any of its manufacturing sites.
But it says there will be some disruption in milk collection due to road closures and other issues accessing farms in the top of the South Island.
“We’re extremely relieved to confirm there are no injuries to any of our staff around the country, and our focus continues to be making sure we can contact and support as many of our farmers in affected areas as we can,” says Fonterra’s Farm Source Chief Operating Officer, Miles Hurrell.
Some farms that remain without power, or those that cannot be reached by tanker due to road closures, may need to dispose of their milk. Hurrell confirmed that Fonterra will contact farmers directly if disposal is required.
“We’re doing our best to reach everyone who is due for collection immediately. With power out and phone lines down in some areas, that includes putting Farm Source teams on the road to go door to door to try to update those farmers with the latest information,” he says, in a statement.
Road conditions in Kaikoura mean there are approximately 30 farms in the area that may not have their milk collected, while others around the country may have late collections as tankers are rerouted.
Meanwhile, most of Fonterra’s manufacturing sites around the country are fully operational today and processing milk as usual.
“We will continue carrying out safety assessments over the course of the day but at this stage we are comfortable there are no significant structural concerns or ongoing impact on the normal running of our business,” says Chief Operating Officer for Global Operations, Robert Spurway.
“This has been a frightening event for many of our communities and our thoughts are with those who are suffering losses,” he states.