Hundreds of containers arrive in New Zealand to replenish stock ahead of Christmas rush

One of the largest shipping operations undertaken in the North Island got underway on Friday, carrying stock to replenish Auckland's shelves in time for Christmas.

The ship Constantinos P was originally supposed to arrive in Auckland's port in December, but the port has been dealing with global supply chain delays and just three of eight cranes are running due to staffing and technology issues. So the ship was instead diverted to Northport near Whangarei.

Now 800 trucks are preparing to carry nearly 1200 containers of cargo south, bringing stock to Auckland shelves which are already looking bare with Christmas still two weeks away.

"We are putting stuff to Auckland to put the things on the shelves for Christmas," one truck driver told Newshub.

With so many extra trucks on the road, police have been brought in from across the country to check the vehicles are safe - including Snr Sgt Mike Flatt, who's the commercial vehicle safety team manager.

"One truck had an audible air leak and cracks in the chassis and bald tyres, so it's disappointing for us to know that trucking companies and drivers are bringing those types of vehicles up here," he said.

Two trucks have been given pink stickers - meaning they are taken off the road.

Police found illegal DIY brake repairs on one that they say could've been fatal. Now mechanics are trying to get them back on the road.

About 12 trucks will leave Northport every hour from 6am to midnight daily except for a gap from 3pm Saturday to Monday morning.

"It's not seven days a week, we wish it was, to shift the backlog," Snr Sgt Flatt said.

It all has to be done by truck, because Auckland's rail line doesn't reach Northport and is being repaired.

Snr Sgt Flatt said police aren't too keen on more ships being diverted.

"It's not something we'd want to see all the time, it's pretty labour intensive."

With Auckland's port delays expected to continue until mid next year, these roads could be clogged with container trucks all summer.