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Date: 8th June 2022

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Ports of Auckland Update

In advice received earlier today, it has been confirmed that the Ports of Auckland has decided to end its automation project. The port advises this has been done in the best interests of their company, their customers, and the New Zealand supply chain.

After two independent project reviews, the work completed showed that despite the best efforts of their team and their supplier, there was considerable uncertainty about how long it would take to complete the project and how much it would cost.

It was this uncertainty and potential for disruption that was at the heart of their decision to end the project.

The port advises that it sees this as a positive decision as it gives certainty about the future and allows them to focus on their core job: safely providing a great service to our customers. It will also help them get back to the productivity and performance of the past.

New Zealand


  • Import container volumes are increasing via the main ports. Lyttelton Port receival and delivery truck grid is experiencing queues with significant truck waiting times. Rail volumes from Tauranga to Metroport have increased making the rail leg time taken less predictable. Ports of Auckland vessel operations are generally coping well. One of the major challenges is the lack of predictability for vessel ETAs. This is especially significant with southbound vessels to New Zealand calling at Brisbane. It has become a major pinch point for congestion with delays of up to a week at Brisbane port. In order to encourage the use of night shift VBS slots & to avoid containers dwelling at Fergusson Terminal, the port is progressively introducing an Excess Dwell Charge from 1st July. Laden import containers which have been in the port for 15 days or longer will attract an excess dwell charge of $175 per TEU per day. From September 1, laden import containers which have been in the port for 8-14 days will attract an excess dwell charge of $125 per TEU per day. The Excess Import Dwell Charge is in addition to the applicable demurrage tariff already in place. Both Tauranga Port & Ports of Auckland also have a revised general tariff effective 1st July – an increase in the port service charge levied by Shipping Lines is likely to follow as a result.
  • Despite generally lower stock levels container depots are still challenged with unpredictable lead times to be able to accept empty import containers. Frequently, acceptances are not in place further delaying dehire. Shipping Lines are not offering relief on detention incurred due to importers, their contracting carrier(s) being unavoidably delayed in being able to dehire.
  • At a time of overarching staff shortages industry-wide, covid isolation requirements continue to exacerbate available resourcing for service industries leading to supply chain delays.
  • As the world begins to get back to regular business travel, MPI reminds us that New Zealand’s multi-layered biosecurity system includes risk assessment, visual inspections, X-ray screening, scanning technology, and detector dogs to prevent risk goods from being carried into New Zealand by both travelers and freight. The recent discoveries of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, and the insect pest fall armyworm on a small number of properties in five regions in the North Island are timely reminders about the importance of biosecurity readiness and response, and why everyone needs to be vigilant about spotting and stopping unwanted pests and diseases. See below some individual actions that can be taken when you travel:
    • Before traveling familiarise yourself with the known issues and considerations for the places you are visiting
    • Look for ways to minimise the need to take equipment with you – check if it can be provided in the country you are visiting
    • Thoroughly clear and dry and equipment, gifts, or souvenirs you are returning with
    • Minimise your exposure to animals while traveling, and don’t have contact with farm animals in New Zealand for 7 days after having contact with livestock in another country
    • If you are visiting agricultural production sites and are provided with footwear of protective clothing leave these at the site after your visit
    • If you have been in an environment where your footwear might have been contaminated then remove any organic matter, wash and dry the soles, and if possible soak them in disinfectant
    • Hotwash or dry clean clothes you’ve worn in places that may have biosecurity risks
    • And remember to not tuck away and forget any fruit in your hand luggage during the rush of work travel


  • Covid related illness continues to impact warehousing and container depots staffing levels. Please expect delays at container freight stations and container depots.
  • Container supply has become problematic as container depots staffing levels reduce many are struggling to repair and upgrade containers. Please provide advanced notice of your requirements for empty container deliveries.
  • Vessel delays and schedule changes continue to be an issue, we highly recommend that the receival window is confirmed at the time of arranging container transport (both empty in and full back to the port).



  • Australia – Carriers at absolute capacity from all origins. Consols are full and any additional bookings may have to move express.
  • Asia – Remains mostly at full capacity. Shipments originating in Shanghai can be trucked direct to the terminals. Shipments originating from the regions close to Shanghai need to be trucked to Ningbo and then trucked direct to the terminals.
  • USA – Capacity starting to ease as other carriers have taken up the slack caused by Air NZ’s backlogs. Fiji Airways increase their flights from the USA and remain daily in to Auckland. Hawaiian Airlines are starting to allocate space for their first flight in July.
  • UK and EU – Some additional capacity has become available via the USA as carriers look at options now that restrictions have eased. Rates do remain high particularly for maindeck shipments as there are such limited services.
  • Cargo terminals, trucking, and warehousing across the supply chain at the airport is returning to normal as covid restrictions are eased.


  • Australia – There are still restrictions in Brisbane and Perth. Melbourne is at full capacity. No current delays to Sydney.
  • Asia – Capacity on all carriers starting to tighten particularly on Air NZ which is carrying a lot of perishable consignments. Booking takes up to a week to get confirmed space.
  • USA – American Airlines to resume daily flights between Auckland and Dallas from October this is in addition to Hawaiian Airlines toarting its service three times a week from July.
  • UK and EU – Asian carriers are taking more shipments via their hubs as space has eased a little due to the China lockdowns.
  • Cargo terminals, trucking, and warehousing across the supply chain at the airport are returning to normal as covid restrictions are eased.



  • The eyes of the global shipping industry remain firmly on Shanghai and how it will bounce back from the aftermath of its crippling lockdowns.

Shanghai is progressively working its way back to normality since its reopening on the 1st June, with daily throughput at the port rebounding to 95% of normal levels.

However, there remains concerns around local trucking with a shortage of drivers and vehicles hampering deliveries to the port.

As workers have returned to open factories an immediate challenge is the sourcing of raw materials and pressures on their own supply chain as they try and make a dent in the backlog of purchase orders.

  • It is estimated there is a backlog of 260,000 twenty-foot containers that didn’t ship from China in April alone. The flow-on effects this has on the global container distribution system continue to be widely felt and likely to exacerbate global container imbalances heading into the traditional peak season.
  • In the short term, we have seen a spike in carrier spot rates from Shanghai to other destination which is expected to remain until backlogs die down.
  • Schedule reliability from all carriers is currently inconsistent which is impacting our LCL program throughout the region. Feeder emissions and blank sailings continue to wreak havoc on transits times and alongside transhipment congestion, transit times have been extended significantly.


  • Space and equipment availability is plaguing this market, notably with a shortage of reefer equipment across all shipping lines.
  • Advanced bookings are a challenge with more lines imposing cancellation fees, schedule changes, and reduced booking windows, however, we recommend discussing options with your Customer Services representative as to how to best handle your booking(s).



  • Space is extremely tight with all shipping lines.
  • Serious equipment shortages from all Australian States. 20′ containers are scarce.
  • Louise 384n – ex Brisbane omitting Auckland. All Auckland containers are discharging Tauranga and being railed to Auckland.
  • TTZ service ex Sydney & Melbourne becoming seriously delayed.
  • Marfret are increasing their NZ Port Service charges to NZD 450/20’, NZD 600/40’.
  • ANL BAF increase 1st July:
    • USD 221 / 20’ GP
    • USD 265 / 20′ Reefer
    • USD 442 / 40′ GP
    • USD 530 /40’ Reefer


  • 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.
  • Please note due to the Omicron variant, Australia is experiencing severe staff and labour shortages. Transport bookings are now requiring 4 days’ notice prior to delivery. We are now also seeing long waits for Biosecurity inspections to be completed.
  • The depots are also seeing 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.



  • The lockdown in Shanghai has caused large build ups of containers in European ports due to blank sailings on direct services. These volumes are coming on to the services that are also used for NZ cargo. Space is very tight across all lines, 4-5 weeks to get bookings on in most cases, sometimes more. Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Scandinavian ports are experiencing space and equipment shortages. Others are raising rates considerably in response to demand. Please allow 4-5 weeks to secure bookings. Maersk, CMA, and MSC are loading OK (with the waiting times mentioned) but Cosco, ONE, OOCL, PIL and Hapag have all stopped taking bookings to NZ due to back logs in transhipment ports.
  • MSC continue to have large delays in Singapore, with exception of Refrigerated and DG cargos that are prioritised.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine has not directly affected services to NZ, however, many European suppliers potentially have raw materials that come from these countries so it would be worth checking in with them to make sure that they can produce your orders OK.
  • Trucker shortages are growing with the rise in Covid cases sending many home at short notice with illness to isolate. Replacement drivers are hard to find. This is particularly bad in UK where road freight rates have hit record highs.
  • CFS’s are operating as normal to load LCL.
  • Many are also reverting to the standard 7 days free detention time with no exceptions.


  • Transport into the UK remains heavily booked and congested.
  • There has been significant improvement in transport on The Continent, however, the current conflict with Russia and Ukraine will impact negatively on the supply chain. We expect delays and congestion as cargo transiting the EU into Russian arrives and is subsequently held/returned to its origin.
  • The increase in fuel surcharges has leveled out for the moment.

North America


  • The weekly Long Beach – Auckland service is still only alternate sailings every 4-6 weeks. This is a lot of space to take out of the market and the remaining vessels are overloaded, especially from Seattle which is also being omitted on a fortnightly basis. Please book ahead as far as possible for this service. It can take up to 21 days just to get a booking in place. These ports, along with Long Beach, Oakland, and Vancouver are under unprecedented pressure to NZ.
  • Vessels awaiting berths on US West Coast ports has reduced to 25 vessels waiting last week at Long Beach. Delays still with rail into Long Beach from the mid-west. The best option is to use the East Coast ports for these FCL containers, originating in Chicago.
  • ECU worldwide will as of June 18th no longer apply LCL Export storage for USA export as a result of ocean carrier delays, or space constraints.
  • The current USA LCL export congestion fee will increase from current level with the following,
    • USD 10 w/m increase from NYC/CHI/ATLCHS/HOU Export consol points to all destinations Oceanic
    • USD 15 w/m increase from all USWC origins for destinations in Oceanic.
  • Trucker shortages are an issue – congestion has hit drivers wages with fewer jobs able to be completed in a day and forced some drivers out of the market to other employment opportunities. Truckers are also cancelling jobs at short notice due to health/Covid reasons. Replacement drivers often can’t be found at short notice or are charging penalty rates. These extra costs are now just a part of getting containers out of the USA and we must incur them to keep your cargo moving.
  • Services from the East Coast are still calling NZ weekly and rail to Metroport . A lot of cargo has moved over to these ports so space is tight.
  • Rail in the USA for 20’ containers is still an issue – the networks are built to carry 40’ boxes and 20’ers can be delayed while they wait for another 20’er to fill the wagon. Where possible, place orders that will fill a 40’ container.
  • Trucking containers are the preferred option to give control for the containers making required sailing.
  • BMSB Season has now ended.


  • The VSA service to the West Coast is shambolic, vessel wait times for berths at arrival ports has reduced slightly, however, delays remain significant. Due to vessel bunching, port calls are being switched with limited notice, we understand there will be more changes to the current schedule shortly.
  • Containers are being block stacked on arrival in Vancouver and not being made available for collection for 3-4 weeks. Oakland is also now experiencing port congestion with similar delays in containers being made available for collection. Container yards are over capacity and not accepting empty returns resulting in storage and additional transport costs.
  • The East Coast services continue to be more reliably running to schedule, but space remains tight.
  • All services are heavily booked to early August.

South America

  • Many lines are not taking bookings to NZ while they clear backlogs that have built up due to vessel / service withdrawals.

South Africa

  • Equipment shortage. There is a wait of several weeks on bookings.

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