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Growing delays in global shipping of raw materials & equipment

Delays in shipping raw materials and equipment around the world could get worse in the months ahead as Covid-19 cases continue to rise globally, says industry association Print NZ.  The total number of Covid cases around the world has passed 50 million, with almost half a million new cases a day.

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       "Be aware of the implications":
           Ruth Cobb, CEO Print NZ

“There are ongoing issues moving product both around the globe and locally and you need to be aware of the implications of this for both imports and exports,” Print NZ CEO Ruth Cobb told members via email.

“It is essential that you take this into account when ordering raw materials, equipment or product over the next 3 to 6 months, especially if you run on a just-in-time basis. The global Covid situation is looking to get worse and with Christmas and Chinese New Year (11-17 February) just around the corner, this situation is not likely to improve quickly.”

Freight carriers globally are facing a shortage of shipping containers while at the same time there is a wave of demand for the USA and Europe, Cobb says. 

“Container manufacturers are running at full capacity and can’t keep up with the demand. Coronavirus is resulting in tighter capacity amongst consolidated carriers. Reduced vessel sailings to NZ are impacting both inward and outward capacity.”

Industrial action in Australia is also having an impact, she says.

“Strikes at Australian ports are creating problems on multiple fronts; containers, reduced shipping, slow processing etc. This has flow-on impacts to NZ supply chains. For Asia, lead times are approximately 8 weeks from order. Thailand, Singapore and Tokyo are worsening – lead times into January and February.

“The entire system is clogged up at present including coastal shipping,” says Cobb. “This is leading to delays in container movements, but also couriers (up to a week where normally overnight). Frequent delays for exports of up to a month.

Auckland Port

“Covid-19 and Australian strikes have created congestion at Auckland port resulting in ships being stuck waiting for up to six days. Some of these ships then go on to only partially unload, leaving stock on the water needing to be shipped from another port.

“As a result, congestion surcharges of $200-$300USD ($300-$450NZD) per TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) are being introduced by shipping lines coming into Auckland. This is on top of already heightened freight costs.

Tauranga Port

“Ships skipping Auckland due to congestion are creating flow-on congestion in Tauranga. Large backlog of containers waiting to rail north. Auckland MetroPort is at full capacity General advice on timeframes is: 10-12 days from date of discharge for general cargo 3-5 days from date of discharge for containers that were priority managed through Shuttle Select. Note that containers can only be prioritised  before they discharge the vessel.”

Print NZ is continuing to monitor the situation and will keep its members posted, Cobb says.

The total number of coronavirus cases globally now stands at 50,901,859, with almost half a million new cases (495,684) recorded yesterday, according to Guardian Australia’s Covid World Map.