Supermarkets to restock shelves by barge and plane

A BARGE filled with 30,000 tonnes of groceries is expected to arrive in Townsville on Thursday to refill stripped shelves at Woolworth stores.

Meanwhile, a Coles spokesman said a plane will touch down in Cairns by 1pm before trucking half its load to Townsville.

Eight of Townsville's dozen Woolworths stores remain open.

Those at Fairfield, Hermit Park, Castletown and Nathan Plaza are closed.

Woolworths Northern Queensland operations manager Tina Anandji said a barge has been secured to deliver 30,000 tonnes of fresh food, nappies, baby formula and other essential items.


The barge will be dispatched from Mackay and is expected to arrive in Townsville on Thursday.

"Additionally we have 30 contingency containers carrying essential lines such as water, long life milk, baby formula, beans, noodles and toilet paper, which we're drawing on to increase the stock in our stores," she said.

Woolworth stores in Ingham remain open and trading with stock expected to arrive around midday today from Townsville.

Stores in Ayr are open and trading and will be receiving supplies from Brisbane by road.

Coles Queensland state manager Jerry Farrell said Coles has chartered a plane to deliver fresh produce, groceries and bakery flour to Townsville and Cairns.

"The plane will land in Cairns this afternoon and half the load will be trucked to Townsville on recently reopened roads," he said.

"We are also investigating alternative delivery routes with trucks from Adelaide and Darwin on the roads to deliver to other flood-impacted areas of Far North Queensland.

"Coles would like to thank our local suppliers, who have helped keep fresh milk, eggs and produce in stores wherever possible."

The only Coles stores closed are Townsville Rising Sun, due to flooding, and Aitkenvale and The Willows because the shopping complexes themselves did not open today.