Auckland Port’s Shock $20m Blow
Ports of Auckland, in the middle of an industrial dispute, has been shocked to be told today it’s lost a major shipping line service to Tauranga.
Maersk Line announced today it’s permanently shifting its Southern Star container shipping service from Auckland to Tauranga -which will be good for rail.
The Auckland port company will lose nearly $20m in revenue annually as well as 52 ship calls and 82,500 containers.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Mark Cairns, said they’ve been working for some time to attract a new import ship call to Tauranga to better balance our MetroPort rail shuttle service to and from Auckland.
The shock news caused Auckland’s port company to postpone today’s mediation with the Maritime Union of New Zealand over its dispute.
Auckland Ports CEO Tony Gibson said the Southern Star was one of Auckland’s largest shipping services.
“Maersk have explained to us that the possibility of further industrial unrest has been central to their decision to shift the service to Tauranga. We had already warned the union that their strike action, during one of the busiest times in the shipping schedule, could cost Ports of Auckland a major customer and threaten jobs.”
“However, despite these warnings, a very fair offer on the table and a further offer of a paid stop work meeting, the union proceeded with its strike over last weekend, has already given notice of another strike this Friday, and is continuing to signal the possibility of further strikes, saying publicly it will do ‘whatever it takes.’”
The service loss is effective from this week’s vessel, the Euro Max voyage 126N, which will now call Tauranga on Saturday.
Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping line, operating in conjunction with Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad . Its new port rotationwill be : Tanjung Pelapas (Malaysia), Singapore, Tauranga, Lyttelton, Port Chalmers, Tanjung Pelapas.
Port of Tauranga says it’s starting “a significant capital expenditure programme over the next few years to ensure that the Port continues to provide customers with world class levels of productivity.”
The Employers and Manufacturers Association says Auckland importers and exporters can ill afford the extra time and cost of freighting goods to and from Tauranga or via other alternatives.
Kim Campbell, EMA’s chief executive says shifting more containers to and from Tauranga “won’t help our carbon footprint with unnecessary rail freight and more trucks on the road. Longer lead times, and increased costs are not what we need. All businesses need to adopt more flexible work practices to retain their competitiveness, and the law must ensure managers are able to manage a business.
“Any suggestion that a union owns jobs in a workplace is completely outdated.”The longer term implications are that New Zealand’s reputation as a supplier of quality goods, and our credibility as an exporter are being put at risk. “It’s one thing to disrupt the supply of Christmas presents with all the pain that causes our retailers, and another entirely to cause permanent damage to a major part of New Zealand’s supply chain.
“We certainly hope this is not the beginning of an exodus of work from the ports of Auckland.”