Shippers Concerned about Transit Times on VSA Service to US West Coast

Sep 12, 2019 | Media Releases

The NZ Shippers’ Council has raised concern about the lengthened transit time to ports on the US West Coast. The VSA service to Long Beach has extended from 15 days out to 30 days, with significant impacts across shippers’ supply chains. In particular, the meat and horticulture sector have been hard hit by the delays and disruption to the service.

“For exporters of perishable produce, the increase in transit time is totally unacceptable,” said NZSC Chair, Simon Beale. “The slow movement of time sensitive cargo has a disastrous impact on exporters who need to get their products to market swiftly.”

Mr Beale said the issue appears to be related to the ever-increasing congestion at West Coast ports, created by a combination of carrier, terminal and operational issues. The upshot is vessels being required to wait outside the port for lengthy periods.

For NZ shippers, reliant on just one service into the West Coast, the consequences of these enforced delays are dire.

The Shippers’ Council is looking to work with the VSA shipping companies to alleviate the problem.

The concern was raised at the recent annual general meeting of the New Zealand Shippers’ Council, which saw an unprecedented number of members and affiliates gather in Wellington for briefings and discussion.

A full and varied programme of speakers included presentations from: Secretary for Transport and Ministry of Transport Chief Executive, Peter Mersi, retiring Deputy Director General of Biosecurity Roger Smith, and Opposition spokespeople for Transport Chris Bishop and Brett Hudson. The afternoon session kicked off with an update of global trade headwinds from former Trade Minister and Ambassador to the US, Tim Groser, who stepped in following a last minute cancellation from the Hon Shane Jones. Members also received briefings from NZ Customs on the review of Goods Clearance fees, on the reassessment of methyl bromide currently before the Environmental Protection Agency, and on the blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform, TradeLens.

Simon Beale, from T&G Global, was re-elected Chair of the Council, with Murray Horne (Oji Fibre Solutions) and Joanne Wilson (Silver Fern Farms) elected as deputies.

The Council membership is steadily growing with new members Ravensdown, The Warehouse, Sandfords and most recently NZ Steel joining the Council over the past twelve months in addition to a number of new affiliates.


For further comment:

Simon Beale
Chairman, NZ Shippers Council Telephone: 021 390 578

About The New Zealand Shippers’ Council

The New Zealand Shippers’ Council represents the supply chain interests of major New Zealand shippers, with members across all sectors including importers, exporters, ports, freight forwarders, road and rail. Collectively members move over 60% of NZ containerised exports and a significant amount of bulk exports, imports and domestic volume.

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