The popular tourist spot of Norfolk Island is about to run out of basic groceries and needs “12 Boeing 737s” a month to replenish supplies
- Foodland, the supermarket on Norfolk Island, is in desperate need of groceries
- Shopkeeper Geoff Bennett wrote a letter to resolve the “worsening crisis”.
- He said he needs 12 Boeing planes delivering stock each month to fix the problem
- Mr Bennett included a series of images from his store showing almost empty shelves
Norfolk Island faces a critical shortage of grocery items as an outraged supermarket owner claims the island needs “12 Boeing 737s” a month to stock up on needed supplies.
The popular tourist destination located 1,600 kilometers northeast of Sydneywas plagued by cargo problems.
The island’s supermarket, Foodland, receives goods from ships or air freight services.
But owner Geoff Bennett claims his shop has only been preserved 23.5 tons of 200 tons of groceries delivered last month.
Foodland, the largest supermarket on Norfolk Island, is experiencing a desperate shortage of groceries due to freight problems
Foodland supermarket owner Geoff Bennett has penned a letter, with accompanying pictures of empty shelves, showing just how bad the “crisis” has gotten for island residents
Mr Bennett wrote a letter to the Department for Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and Norfolk Island Regional Council about the “crisis”, stressing that stocks at his camp were “exhausted”.
He also included a series of photos taken at his store showing Foodland’s empty shelves show just how bad things have gotten for disgruntled residents.
“This is by far the worst situation Foodland has been in since we started over 50 years ago and we’re really struggling now,” he said.
“Staff layoffs and reduced trading hours are imminent.”
Mr. Bennett explained that his business “requires between 150 and 200 tonnes by air freight per month when the ship is not in service” and that in the past 4 weeks he has only received “23.5 tonnes”!
He said that stocks at Foodland’s warehouse were “almost completely depleted” and that the supermarket needed about 600 tonnes of groceries over the next two shipments to meet demand.
“The truth is that we CANNOT be sure of getting 600 tons on either of the next two ships, such is the island-wide demand for cargo. So we’ll have to rely on ad hoc air freight for topping up for the rest of 2022!!”
“Foodland would need to access 10 to 12 Boeing 737s per month just for Foodland cargo to keep up with demand and rebuild the necessary reserve inventory (stock) that such an isolated company is ‘obligated’ to carry,” he said.
Mr Bennett wrote that supply problems have also affected Norfolk Island’s construction suppliers, bakeries and Liquor Bond bottle shop.
Foodland’s owner suggested that Norfolk Island, one of Australia’s self-governing outer territories, stop accepting tourists until stocks are replenished.
Norfolk Island (pictured right, red) is 1,600 kilometers northeast of Sydney
Norfolk Island has had stock troubles in the past. Due to the island’s rugged coastline, large ships must dock at least a kilometer away, using long boats to deliver supplies
Norfolk Island has had storage problems with grocery items in the past.
In March 2021, ships were unable to deliver items to the island due to a long period of rough seas that prevented cargo ships from docking.
As a result, inventories collapsed and food prices rose to unprecedented levels.
Offloading stock has proven to be a dangerous exercise on Norfolk Island, with the rugged coastline requiring large ships to anchor at least a kilometer offshore.
Most of the supplies are then shipped by longboats.
Norfolk Island: a quick guide
*Norfolk Island is an Outer Australian Territory in the Pacific Ocean approximately 1600 km northeast of Sydney.
*The current population is almost 2,000 inhabitants.
*It has a diverse environment and notable historical sites that offer a unique heritage rarely found elsewhere in Australia and around the world.
*The primary language on Norfolk Island is English, but some Norfolk Islanders speak the local language Norf’k – a mixture of Tahitian and Old English of Bounty descendants.