Council has been monitoring with concern the cascading congestion issues that are impacting many of our members. In order to gain a clearer picture of what’s happening, what’s ahead and how shippers might best manage the situation, Council invited representatives of ICLC to join the NZCCO executive committee at our most recent committee meeting. Our thanks to Mark Scott (COSCO) and Gary Carter (CMA-CGA) for their comprehensive update. It’s clear that the supply chain is in a difficult position with a convergence of disruptive factors at the same time as import and export peaks. In brief, the flow on effect of port strike activity in Australia has seen vessels pushed off window in NZ. This coupled with heightened H&S activity at POAL that has lowered the port’s productivity and the port’s compromised capacity due to the automation project, has created significant disruption at POAL. In turn this has seen vessels diverted to PoT, putting pressure on that supply chain such that the rail link is full and Metroport are restricting volumes. These disruptions have occurred at the same time as strong post-Covid import cargo volumes. The pressure on the supply chain is exacerbated as NZ moves into the peak period for dairy and meat exports.
While the Australian situation is slowly improving, congestion related issues there will remain for some time yet. And while NZ ports are working off schedule to load off-window vessels there are numerous port omissions as the lines try to keep vessels moving.
At this point there is no easy fix. All NZ exporters and importers will need to provide robust forecasts to their shipping lines and lock in contracts and bookings as early as possible to protect their volumes. NZCCO will continue to maintain close communication with ICLC to get as much visibility and heads up of the situation as possible to support shippers contingency planning.
You can hear Council’s perspective on the issue in an interview with Mike Hosking/Newstalk this morning: