Ongoing shipping crisis needs clear analysis and immediate action

The Maritime Union says the ongoing crisis in shipping and supply chains requires clear analysis and immediate action.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says new developments are worsening rather than improving New Zealand’s international freight links.

Signals from international shipping line Maersk show they expect the turmoil in international shipping to continue, he says.

Maersk has announced it is dropping contracts for smaller container movements, and moving to a spot price model, resulting in further impacts on importers and exporters.

Mr Harrison says New Zealand has a systemic issue with a broken supply chain model.

He says policies over several decades had been focussed on driving down costs at the expense of reliability and security.

“That short-sighted and short-term approach has now come around and bit the industry and the country as a whole.”

Mr Harrison says the lack of New Zealand flagged shipping services and a national port strategy had left New Zealand exposed in the new environment.

He says a new report from the Government on shipping has recognized these issues, including an expansion of New Zealand flagged coastal shipping services to offer reliable schedules to regional ports.

A national ports strategy was also required, as New Zealand had many small ports that were not working together, he says.

Mr Harrison says a New Zealand operated shipping line that could engage in regional trans-Tasman, Pacific Island and Asia-Pacific routes would provide much needed stability.

New Zealand had a unique profile as a small and remote maritime trading nation, and needed to take control of its future, he says.

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