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Date: 2nd February 2023

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New Zealand


  • Immediate weather events are having an impact on delivery schedules, especially rail & linehaul.
  • Auckland container depot congestion continues to be a real pinch point in the rotation of mainly import containers. Capacity in the main centres, especially Auckland are operating at an overcapacity level and unable to handle the volume of empty containers for dehire or turn around units to make them available for export use. Key depots have either shut altogether for lengthy periods or greatly restricted the number of acceptance bookings issued. Often the only option for trucking companies is to uplift the empty container(s) from importer’s premises and then hub the containers called in until they can obtain an active acceptance with a matching booking, many days later. The backlog of hubbed containers waiting to be dehired is significant. It will take some time to redress the imbalance even with a concerted effort to reuse containers for export, and evacuate unused empties out of New Zealand as the latter requires a redirection of scarce resources away from handling import containers. The response from Shipping Lines for relief on detention incurred due to delays in dehires has been mixed at best.
  • There is an ongoing resourcing issue in the New Zealand supply chain driven by a long-term lack of skilled & semi-skilled labour. A resurgence in covid coupled with sick leave and staff absenteeism for other reasons is and will continue to be a significant factor hindering the Ports, warehousing, and trucking companies’ ability to cope with existing volumes.
  • VBS (Container booking) charges will increase again in February with a rise in Metroport VBS charges closely following announced adjustments to be billed by Ports of Auckland from 1st January 2023.
  • At the end of last year, NZ Customs announced that the policy allowing for goods under $25.00 to be grouped under the “parts” heading for shipments without individual classification would cease. This will result in additional detail lines for some importers of equipment parts.

If you need more information, please contact the Customs Team.


  • Tappers are implementing a new procedure to ensure they receive the correct export cargo. This new measure is being put in place to avoid the potential of mislabeling and/or receiving incorrect freight.

Shippers/Exporters must clearly label all cargo on all four sides before sending it to Tappers. Additionally, a copy of the Oceanbridge Booking Confirmation must be attached to the outside of the cargo for delivery.

Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the cargo being rejected.

This new procedure will become fully effective on Monday 6th February 2023. Tappers will begin rejecting deliveries where the cargo has “No Marks.” Our team will remind you of these requirements with each new booking.

  • Congestion at the Port of Tauranga continues with slight easing. Vessel arrival and close-off dates constantly change. Please monitor the Port of Tauranga website closely and aim to have your containers on port at the first opportunity.
  • Equipment shortages continue for Hapag Lloyd, ANL, & CMA CGM & Maersk, Nelson, Port Chalmers, and Napier are the most impacted.


  • Multiple flight cancellations over the weekend have resulted in a backlog of shipments at terminals both in Auckland and around the world. It is expected to take at least three to five days to clear these backlogs and get new shipments booked and moving.
  • Most international airlines are back operating into and out of Auckland, however, most flights are currently delayed or rescheduled.
  • Air New Zealand and Qantas are still trying to clear a backlog of passengers and cargo and are cancelling/rescheduling multiple flights to put aircraft in the sectors that have the most affected number of passengers. There is no word from either airline as to when they will return to scheduled services.
  • Cargo terminals at Auckland airport are closed for between 24 and 48 hours and are not expected to be fully operational until Wednesday at the earliest. Delays in availability are expected for any shipments that have managed to arrive as the terminals work on clearing the backlog.
  • Delivery and collection times will be extended throughout this week until the supply chain and transport routes are fully operational.



  • The impacts of the COVID outbreak in China remain a little vague, but we are hearing anecdotal evidence that factories are all slowly reopening following the Lunar New Year celebrations but, due to the slow return of workers from regional China, it will likely not be until mid to late February that we see production returning to something closer to full capacity.
  • Gaps in scheduling for the Lunar New Year break will be most felt this week and next week, with most services resuming sailings from 8 – 12 February from North Asia.
  • Delays off the NZ coast continue to be an issue with the scheduling for all services, especially those that call both Auckland and Tauranga. Indications at this point are that gradual improvements are being made but this may not be evident until Q2 this year.


  • Space and equipment availability is improving; however, we are still seeing a shortage of reefer equipment at some origins.
  • Advanced bookings are a challenge with more lines imposing cancellation fees, schedule changes, and reduced booking windows. We recommend discussing options with your Customer Services representative as to how to best handle your booking(s).
  • MSC, OOCL, and & ONE are the only carriers currently accepting cargo to the Middle East
  • Berth congestion in North East Asia has gotten heavier – currently seeing 3-5 days except for Hong Kong which is only facing minor congestion. South East Asia is seeing waits of 1 day or less.
  • China is currently battling COVID outbreaks in cities across the country from Zhengzhou in central Henan province to Guangzhou in the south and Chongqing in the southwest. If you have cargo on the water to any of these destinations, please make contact with your Customer Services representative to discuss options for discharge in alternative locations. Please note the Lunar New Year holiday may have caused delays in cargo reaching its final destination.



  • Marfret ex Brisbane is now accepting Reefer, DG, and food quality cargo. Over the past couple of months this Marfret service has been one of the most consistent with minimal delays.
  • ZIM service now accepting DG cargo, and have the alternating vessel call into Port Chalmers and Napier.
  • Our packing depot in Melbourne has moved exports to their new address, this warehouse is still undergoing some construction, so the imports haven’t moved over yet. Please note, there is reduced flexibility for late receivals and other favours from them due to the construction affecting their operations.
  • Space is available on all services. Equipment availability is premium.
  • ANL’s schedule is consistently delayed.
  • Please check with Oceanbridge Representative on extended detention-free days due to the current depot crisis which applies to some shipping lines.


  • Port delays continue across the country but have reduced – current average waiting time in Sydney is 1 day, Melbourne is 0.5 days and Brisbane is approx. 1 day.
  • On the ANZ Shuttle service, ANL Tasman Trader v2236 & v2302 will omit Tauranga due to congestion and these sailings will now make an ad hoc call to Auckland instead.
  • The Capitaine Baret will phase out of the TTZ service in February and the replacement vessel will be the Mia Schulte.
  • Space availability fluctuates depending on the destination and shipping line so we recommend checking with your Export Customer Services representative well in advance of any upcoming bookings you may require.
  • The depots in Australia are facing staff and labour shortages. This is affecting the timeliness with which our FAK containers are being unpacked and cargo being made available for collection/delivery.
  • A pallet shortage in Australia is causing disruptions to transporting goods around the country. Depots will have a returns/swap policy in place.
  • DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) will be increasing the AQIS Processing Charge for shipments arriving by sea from the 16th of January 2023. The revised charge will be AUD 58 per declared consignment.



  • Blank sailings are affecting the regularity of services as they adjust to the lower volumes.
  • Maersk, CMA, and MSC are open for bookings from most ports now but Cosco, ONE, and OOCL have only limited bookings to NZ due to back logs in transshipment ports. Rates have softened on most carriers.
  • MSC continues to have delays in Singapore, with exception of Refrigerated and DG cargos that are prioritised.
  • CMA has delays of 3-4 weeks in Malaysia.
  • CFS’s are operating as normal to load LCL.
  • BMSB Season is in place from September 1st and will remain in place until April 30th. The procedures are the same as last year.


  • There is congestion in Hamburg, resulting in delays with on carriage of other EU destinations and deliveries into Germany.

North America


  • Ship-position data showed just 20 container vessels off North American ports Friday morning. All remaining queues are down to single digits per port.
  • Port Tracker covers 12 U.S. ports. While final counts are not in yet, it is estimated the ports it covers handled 1.88 million twenty-foot equivalent units in December, down 10.1% year on year.
  • Port Tracker forecasts that import volumes in January and February will be roughly even with pre-COVID levels then will bounce back above them again in March-May.
  • Last month’s imports were down 19.3% year on year and down 1.3% versus November.
  • Ocean schedules have improved, but delays remain higher than they used to be. In the first week of January, the Flexport Ocean Timeliness Indicator for the Asia-U.S. route was still 25% higher than three years ago.
  • The coastal mix is also much different. Ports on the East and Gulf coasts continue to handle significantly higher volumes than before the pandemic. Volumes on the West Coast are much lower than they used to be.
  • A new West Coast dockworker labour contract has still not been signed, over seven months after the last one expired.
  • Still, truck driver shortage causing congestion on the East Coast at terminals, due to Covid reasons, replacement drivers at short notice cannot be found, so we are incurring penalty rates moving containers.
  • The previous BMSB requirements will be reinstated for the upcoming BMSB season and will be made permanent for all future BMSB seasons (between 1 September and 30 April).


  • West Coast ports continue to improve, while there are still congestion and berthing issues cargo is moving through the ports with less delay. Container yards remain at capacity impacting container dehiring and subsequent additional costs.
  • The East Coast services are still heavily booked.
  • Recent bad weather has caused delays with inland transport.

South America

  • Port congestion is causing a waiting time of up to 4 weeks for FCL bookings.

South Africa

  • Port congestion is causing a waiting time of up to 4 weeks for FCL bookings.

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