Mail delays from fire at Auckland Mail Centre

13 May 2010

New Zealand Post advises that an electrical fire at its Auckland Mail Centre early this morning will cause delays for letters posted to and from Auckland.

In particular FastPost mail in and out of Auckland is likely to be affected with some unable to be delivered tomorrow morning.

A fire in the main switchboard at the Mail Centre was quickly extinguished by the Fire Service at 7.15am today however the building has been closed for the rest of day due to toxic fumes.

New Zealand Post's Network Chief Operating Officer Sue Tucker said the Auckland team had set up manual processing stations in a safe area adjacent to the mail centre to sort as much of the 1.4 million mail items that come into the centre each day.

"We would normally be sorting mail in Auckland using machines that sort mail at a rate of 35,000 letters an hour," Ms Tucker said.

"Mains power has not yet been restored and New Zealand Post is using three electric generators that will provide partial machine processing capacity from 7pm tonight," she said.

"Most of the mail is sorted and dispatched in the late afternoon and overnight. We are confident we will get through a lot of mail tonight, but we won't be able to process all of it without full machine capacity."

There is no delay to parcels in and out of Auckland as these have been sorted manually off-site.

There is also no delay to mail posted yesterday in Auckland, as these items were processed by 6am this morning, before the fire started.

There were 50 employees in the building when the fire broke out. Approximately 500 people work at the mail centre, most of them on various shifts during the day and overnight.

The extent of the damage has yet to be assessed, but New Zealand Post says no mail has been damaged.

New Zealand Post is investigating the cause of the switchboard failure.

An update will be provided tomorrow.