As New Zealand's supply chain to the rest of the world remains critically constrained, Hawke's Bay growers are concerned over produce getting to market. Exporters are no longer able to make forward freight bookings between Australia and New Zealand as international shipping companies are abandoning the relatively remote and marginal trans-Tasman routes, choosing the profitable routes between China, Europe and the United States instead.
Maersk Oceania head of market Therese Blank said: "Our expectation remains that the disruption to the New Zealand supply chain will remain throughout the export peak season." The company had recently made a significant investment to expand its service in New Zealand, with the addition of a seventh ship to support its Southern Star Service, she added.
Still, according to Blank, the problem facing New Zealand was not just from a shortage of ships. "We are also experiencing impact from port congestion at overseas ports, impacting on time arrivals to New Zealand ports as the vessels are delayed.”
“There is so little space now that ships won't take forward bookings," head of industry development and policy at The Australian Industry Group Louise McGrath said, adding worse was yet to come as peak pre-Christmas price surcharges were expected to rise from $500 to $5000, over and above the already inflated shipping costs.
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