Global freight disruptions affect NZ exporters and cool store operators

Global freight disruptions are hitting South Canterbury; cool store space is at a premium and an there remains an urgent need for containers to take primary produce to markets overseas.

According to Venture Timaru chief executive Nigel Davenport, the global freight problems due to Covid-19 were causing significant challenges. “Not only sourcing our consumer goods and supplies needed by industries, but also the volumes of containers we need to get our produce out to the wider world."

David Ross, chief executive of Kotahi, New Zealand’s largest containerised exporter, said a number of factors had come together to create a ‘perfect storm’: “Container supply has been hand-to-mouth in some weeks in Timaru, driven by vessel delays, and it’s something we are working on as a priority. To manage the current strong export demand for our customers, we have worked collaboratively with strategic partners like Maersk to activate alternate sources of container supply, which has been reasonably effective to date.” also quoted him as saying: “The rebound in global trade and its impact on container flows in the last few months has been a surprise to many, and coupled with port disruptions in Australia and flow on impacts to Auckland, there is an unexpected negative impact on container availability in New Zealand.”

Coolpak Coolstores managing director Sid McAuley said things would remain tight until the end of May when dairy and meat wind down. His company operated cool stores in Timaru and at Izone industrial park at Rolleston.

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