Freight Yard

In Trucking Arts, March 20224 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 17, 2022

Early morning turns to dawn. Weary drivers arrive, their linehaul units covered in grime, windscreens splattered in bugs as they park up, pull their cab curtains closed and climb into their sleepers to rest.

As they start their visit to dreamland, roller doors are opened, and forklifts fired up, ready to move the day’s freight. It’s just another day in an Auckland freight depot. Metro trucks rush in to load the first of the freight as the loaders start stripping the linehaul trailers.

Dispatchers arrive, checking their emails as drivers impatiently ring them wanting loads.

Management head to their offices, trying to get a head start on paperwork before heading off to the first of the day’s meetings.

A steady stream of metro trucks return from their first runs, waiting to reload, before heading off again to re-join the traffic jams.

Other company linehaul trucks pull in to drop off smaller jobs, or to top up for destinations countrywide.

By lunchtime, the yard is a hive of activity, forkies just a blur as they quickly sort freight into different areas.

A truck engine for a diesel workshop in Hastings. Packaging for a fruit-pack house in Roxborough. Framing timber for a builder’s supply yard in Cheviot. Urea going to a farm merchant store in Marton. Pallets of foodstuffs for Wellington. A swimming pool for Bromley. It all gets sorted and loaded onto various trucks.

Afternoon supervisors arrive, checking freight quantities and guessing how many extra units they require for the night freight. The first of the express B-trains are parked up in their loading bays as attention is quickly paid to getting them turned around in time to make their Wellington-Picton ferry crossings.

By now, inward freight is outnumbered by the local delivery freight as the metro units collect from regular clients around the city.

With the express units departing, the depot calms down a bit – or as much as it ever does.

Gradually, the set runners pull in and park up in their allocated bays as drivers mingle, catching up with the latest gossip.

Meanwhile, teams of loaders start on the evening’s trucks. Lights flick on, and office staff head home.

By now, the air is full of noise as idling motors, beeping forklift buzzers and loud voices fill the evening air.

In the manifesting office, the sound of keyboards tapping is mixed with the whirring of printers, as each item is accounted for – hopefully!

The clanging of roof poles mixes with noise from curtains being pulled and ratchets being tightened. Truck after truck gets loaded, ready for their night runs.

As the evening turns to night, and night turns to midnight, the last of the trucks wheel out the gates to battle with other ‘Gods of the Night’.

In the depot, remaining freight is tidied up, forklifts refuelled and parked up, roller doors lowered and lights dimmed as the night- shift punches out timecards and quietness arrives, ready for the next day, as it all begins again.