Businesses struggling due to freight cost increases in and out of New Zealand

New Zealand start-up Arepa had big visions for 2020, but the Covid-19 lockdowns and the rising costs of sending its health drinks all around the world has made it rejig its priorities. CEO Angus Brown said as congestion built up at ports, the company was faced with few choices; paying more to get it shipped in time, paying less but facing lengthy delays, or sending it via air.

"Post-Covid, our costs have changed by about 300 per cent in order for us to deliver our products in the same amount of time as we would have pre-Covid," Brown said. "We have to weigh up whether we can afford to ship the products with another two weeks delay or if we fast track that."

It’s the same story all across New Zealand, within the fishing industry, horticulture, fruit growers and retail. Covid-19, transport delays, higher rates and additional congestion charges are pushing prices sky high.

Richard Palmer from Summerfruit New Zealand transported his goods via air. He said here too, routes were congested and more costly.

"The price of airfreight has doubled. Where we might have been paying $2.50 a kilo, we are paying $5 to $6.50 at least," Palmer told "That just comes off our bottom line. No one is paying more for fruit - for the most part, that comes off the grower's margin."

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