The Maritime Union has taken the unusual step of agreeing with a trucking industry boss.
Mainfreight managing director Don Braid has said global shipping lines are profiteering off the fallout from COVID-19.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the comments are accurate.
“New Zealand is dependent on global shipping lines whose interests are not the same as New Zealand’s.”
He says the effect of COVID-19 on the supply chain has exposed how vulnerable New Zealand’s trade links are.
Mr Harrison says ongoing issues with supply chain congestion, missed ship calls to ports, and extreme surges in the cost of freight, are causing significant damage to the economy.
He says the fact that Mainfreight are now chartering ships to move cargo internationally was a major development and illustrated a change in thinking.
“The entire global logistics system is broken, and now we need to focus on new solutions that provide security and reliability.”
Mr Harrison says the Maritime Union is pushing for New Zealand-owned and operated coastal shipping.
This would provide feeder services between main “hub” ports and smaller “spoke” ports.
International vessels are permitted to carry domestic freight between New Zealand ports – but in the current situation, port calls are being missed as a result of shipping lines having other priorities for their schedules.
Mr Harrison says there needs to be a national ports strategy where investment and planning is based on national requirements, not parochial competition between ports.
“The only people benefiting from the current chaos are global shipping companies.”