Business North July / August 2021

| 49 The movement of goods in focus Richard Loader The Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation has revealed the current challenges for importers and exporters in New Zealand. INDUSTRY Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation C utting across all industries that rely on the import or export of products, a multiplicity of issues is causing supply chain delays that will ultimately result in late delivery of product and increased prices. Rosemarie Dawson, Chief Executive of Cus- toms Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federa- tion (CBAFF) says issues faced by the logistics industry include the Ports of Auckland’s tech- nology upgrade, backlogs, increased pricing and charges levied because of the delays. “The upgrade work is causing congestion on the port and delays in getting the movement of freight in and out of the port. The Ports of Auckland is one of the factors contributing to delays, but there are delays in moving prod- uct internationally and New Zealand is not unique. Ultimately the delays will impact the consumer, be it as an end-user, a manufac- turer, wholesaler, a supply merchant or the construction industry, which is already under significant pressure.” Painting the picture of a perfect storm, Rosemarie uses the example of a Kiwi con- sumer ordering an ‘object of desire’ that is manufactured in China. Because there is a backlog of many weeks for a container in China to be loaded onto ship delays arise, often resulting in not all contain- ers booked on that ship being loaded. On its routing from China, the ship may be scheduled to go to Brisbane or Sydney and there may be industrial strikes in Sydney resulting in not all cargo being off-loaded. The ship may therefore not be able to pick up all of cargo that was scheduled to be picked up. Eventually arriving in Auckland or Tauranga the ship may have to join a queue to get into Port and have its cargo unloaded. “Shipping lines may decide they’re not going to call at Auckland or Tauranga and divert to the Port of Lyttelton instead. Or they may have been diverted to Whangarei and not everything scheduled to be off-loaded can be off-loaded within the time frame that they’ve been allocated.” In addition to shipping woes Rosemarie says the shortage of truck drivers both in New Zealand and globally means that containers off-loaded from the ships remain stacked on some wharfs and cannot be taken to their destination and ultimately the often frustrated end user. Covid has exacerbated the issue and Rose- marie offers the example where New Zealand ports implemented covid related safe work practices during lockdown last year, setting up teams working in bubbles. “While there was a modicum of flexibility if one person had a sniffly nose and stayed home, the whole team was stood down be- cause a complete team was required to do the work. And that causes delays and backlog.” Internationally there is also a general short- age of wharf workers. Rosemarie illustrates with the example that the Ports of Auckland had been trying to get experienced crane drivers to migrate to New Zealand. Five drivers had been identified and recruited and immigration permission had been granted by Immigration New Zealand. “Four of those people came and the other later declined to come. The Ports went back to Immigration but were unable to get permis- sion for another driver to take that fifth slot. “It takes about three weeks to train an experienced driver from overseas to use New Zealand equipment. “But it takes about 10 weeks to train some- one for the role and at least twelve months to get that person up to speed production wise. So the Ports of Auckland upgrade is but one aspect of many issues at the port and wider issues that impact on the supply chain.” CBAFF was established in 1996 to advocate for the importing and exporting community. At its recently held conference CBAFF mem- bers were told it was likely the current supply chain issues will be with us for the next twelve to eighteen months. Proud members and supporters of Cbaff TEL 64-9-256 0861 Auckland | Tauranga | Wellington | Christchurch | Dunedin