After the main communications infrastructure of roads, bridges and the rail corridor were devastated by the earthquake it is pretty clear that the region is going to take a big hit in terms of tourist travel and freight.
So it seems sensible that freight will be sent to Lyttleton and passengers to Nelson. Winston Peters has some helpful thoughts on the matter.
The government should be moving quickly to look into the feasibility of Cook Strait ferries being deployed to sail between Lyttelton and suitable North Island ports.
“This is crucial as the supply lines through to Christchurch are likely to be cut for some time,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“Thus far KiwiRail has not made any announcements other than to say it has left the ferries at anchor.
“There is a transport crisis, with the main two routes from the Picton terminal south to Christchurch closed.
“The government should be looking seriously at alternatives and as fast as possible,” says Mr Peters.
Even so, passengers to Nelson are going to have to go via the West Coast to get to Christchurch, at least until roads and passes can be re-opened.
I suspect that it may well be extremely uneconomic to re-open the rail link anytime soon, if ever.