But staff were determined to get the clean up in hand with even an ex-employee, Mark Songhurst of Aussie Skip Bags, returning to volunteer his services.
“Mark arrived at the Rocklea depot and brought us a much appreciated esky full of soft drinks and helped us clear up the depot,” says Irene.
“Every staff member from sales, customer service, pallet repair and the forklift drivers pitched in and did the dirty work. It created a lot of camaraderie and respect. Our workplace is like our second home because we spend a lot of time there.
“Everyone worked to clean up, helped customers get the pallets they required and spoke to customers who called in to find out was happening. We started work at 5.30am and worked hard until the afternoon when it got too hot.”
A temporary base was also set up for Loscam’s operations nearby.
“That meant we could accept pallets our customers wanted to get rid of and we could repair pallets too,” says Irene.
“But our pallet repairers usually use a semi-automatic, semi-manual system. Without equipment they had to switch to manual repair only – and that meant twice as many men to repair half as many pallets. We took on casual workers to manage that.”
Irene says Loscam’s Queensland operation is also remaining positive about the extent of the impacts of Cyclone Yasi on the business, although the banana industry in North Queensland has suffered and between 75 and 80 per cent of the banana industry in the area is transported on Loscam pallets.
During the Cyclone Yasi recovery operation, the Australian Army used Loscam’s Tully depot, which suffered minimal damage, as a base.