April 2021 Plant Trolley Update

28 Apr 2021

The last twelve months has been a busy one for the trolley system.  Unprecedented demand last year sees us having 3400 trolleys under lease and around 200 on short term hire.  Late last year, embarrassingly we ran out of trolleys despite receiving a new shipment of 330 early in spring … to catch up, we’ve 660 under manufacture right now!

Storage and R&M changes coming up

We’re working on setting up a new Auckland based warehouse and maintenance agent.  They will take over from Transflora who have looked after our trolleys for the best part of a decade.  Andrew’s worked hard on our behalf and we thank him and wish him all the best for his continued freight business.   The new agent’s not quite set up and we’ll have more on that later.

There are no changes planned for the South Island with Headford’s engineering unit holding stock and undertaking repair and maintenance.

While not quite in the storage and R&M space, just a note about stacking trolley bases when not in use … no more than eight high please.  This way we don’t overload the castors on the bottom one!  Thanks.

Trolley swaps to get things in good working order

Now’s the time to put any damaged trolley equipment to one side and let Alix at the NZ Plant Producers office alix@nzppi.co.nz know what you’ve got so that we can swap out with good equipment and get the damaged gear back for repair.

Trolley wraps

Shrink/cling wrap has long been used to protect plants while in transit. Recently we’ve been asked of sustainable alternatives (single-use plastics issue) and how to solve the difficulties faced when the cling wrap wraps itself around trolley wheels! Several nurseries are using trolley wraps made from shade cloth.  These have been around for some time, and are commercially available from

Cambridge Textile Fabrication,
31 Hogan Road,
Craig Brown ctf@xtra.co.nz

Growing Spectrum’s used them for a while and Grant Eyre notes “We purchased the ‘standard’ trolley wrap @ $135.00 +gst. The prices may vary depending on quantity of alterations made. We have found these covers to be the best that we have used, and Craig is great to deal with. We would expect to get at least 3-5 years from these covers. (if they are looked after).”

Steve Burton at Annton Nurseries is a convert too “What drove me to look at it was that we were buying shrink wrap by the pallet lot, we were literally going through hundreds of kilos of single use plastic every year, which didn’t sit very well with me.  As a secondary benefit, I did a cost benefit analysis and payback from not using shrink wrap was approximately 3 yrs.  Provided you can keep them for 3yrs its cost neutral, but better for the environment. If you can keep them for 5yrs as Grant suggests then it’s a win.  And my drivers far prefer using these than shrink wrap!  And of course, it’s better for the plants too (provided your plants are a little bit tough and grown outside…)

Steve does proffer a couple of notes of caution though

  • It gets expensive real quick if your drivers loose them…. We put in place significant systems and signed and marked them all.
  • The wraps wear most significantly where the bars rub on the corners of the trolleys.  We have manipulated this by putting the hand holds (i.e large holes in the cover) where the bars are so that the bars of the truck rub directly on the metal pole of the trolley which avoids having a layer of material between the two metal pieces and avoids the wear.

New trolleys

As noted above, following unprecedented demand last year, we’ve 660 new trolleys on order.  This is double whatever we’ve manufactured in any prior year.  They’re due to ship from China early June and ordinarily this would have them here late July.   Fingers crossed though, stories abound of Covid-related container shortages and shipping delays!  Covid’s not done us any favours in regards cost either, steel and manufacturing costs have both gone up, and our dollar’s slipped against the US since our last order!

New price list and 2021 fee invoicing

Our price review regrettably reflects the above cost increases … and is effective from 1 April 2021 for new leases and hires and this year’s maintenance and administration fees.  The latter will be invoiced this month and we’d be grateful of your early payment please.

That’s about it … here’s to buoyant winter planting and spring gardening seasons and happy shipping!




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