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Maritime Union Says Deepening Supply Chain Crisis Requires Action


The Maritime Union says New Zealand is facing a deepening
crisis in our maritime supply chain, which requires bold
thinking and speedy action to fix.

Maritime Union of
New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the
global COVID-19 pandemic exposed pre-existing weaknesses in
our logistics sector, and created enormous
problems.

He says with a new wave of COVID-19 causing
major problems overseas, the outlook is not
good.

Global congestion has been complicated for New
Zealand due to our over-dependence on global shipping
operators, he says.

International shipping services
were currently disrupted, some port calls were being missed,
freight costs had risen by unprecedented levels, and
shippers could get more profits from concentrating on other
larger markets.

These issues would continue into next
year and beyond, says Mr Harrison.

“A change in our
approach is required and the time for change is
now.”

Mr Harrison says New Zealand transport policy
has been dominated by ‘leave it to the market’ ideology, but
the industry was abandoning those failed ideas in favour of
more co-ordinated approach that prioritized resilience and
reliability.

Chief executive of international shipping
consultancy Sea Intelligence Alan Murphy recently told media
one “reasonable option” might be the consideration of a
state owned New Zealand shipping line to ensure supply chain
security (link below).

In another new development, New
Zealand logistics operator Mainfreight has been chartering
vessels to move cargo internationally, and Managing Director
Don Braid has criticised profiteering by global shipping
operators (link below).

President of the Customs
Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation Chris Edwards has
recently argued New Zealand flagged coastal shipping has to
be a “big part of the plan” to solve supply chain problems
(NZ Shipping Gazette, 22 May 2021).

Mr Harrison says
this convergence of views shows how New Zealand needs to
quickly rebuild our shipping capability.

He says New
Zealand flagged coastal shipping could assist by ensuring
regional ports had a reliable service, which at the moment
they lacked.

Coastal shipping could be built on by
expanding New Zealand flagged shipping services to Australia
and the Pacific.

He says this would require changes to
the Maritime Transport Act, which currently provided an
unfair advantage to global shipping operators.

“The
key issue here is resilience. The threat to our exports and
imports is due to being completely reliant on global
operators for whom New Zealand is not a priority.”

Mr
Harrison says other benefits of New Zealand shipping would
include low carbon emissions and security of our supply
chain in the event of natural disasters such as flooding or
earthquakes, which put land transport out of
action.

© Scoop Media

 



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