TRANSPORT operators in north and central Victoria are dealing with significant disruptions caused by major flooding in the region.

Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) said its regional members in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley and other northern Victoria regional locations are affected.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued major flood warnings for the Avoca River, the Broken River, the Campaspe River, the Goulburn River, the Loddon River and the Wimmera river. There are also moderate and minor flood warnings for several other rivers in the state.

CTAA director Neil Chambers said several regional road container transport operators are having to deal with significant road closures and flooded communities, including staff who have suffered property damage and loss and the inability to continue operations.

“Roads in and out of Shepparton, Mooroopna and surrounds are effectively cut by flood waters, so several companies have suspended access to/from the Port of Melbourne and closed their operations temporarily,” he said.

“Exports from the region are needing to be rolled and rebooked with shipping lines. In the main, we are being told that exporters are understanding of the situation. However, there are export commodities such as pasteurised milk to SE Asia and other dairy products with a limited shelf-life which are the hardest hit by the delays, as well as some urgent freight destined for Tasmania.”

Mr Chambers said one regional operator transporting containerised exports of hay from Elmore and other central regional locations got ahead of the floods by staging many export containers through their Melbourne yard ahead of time, which saved the need to scramble to rebook export slots.

“However, if the rain continues and major roads such as the Midland Highway (A300) remain closed at vital points, these export commodities will be impacted too,” Mr Chambers said.

“On the import side, one large regional operator in Shepparton reported that the container stevedore terminals have been very understanding and are working closely with the road carrier to avoid terminal storage bills, and to accommodate additional time slots when the containers can be finally moved north from the port.”