Kiwi exporters in pain as shipping delays continue

Exporters are starting to feel the pain of continued shipping delays, despite new records in the volume of goods New Zealand sends overseas.

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It’s becoming harder to get goods to the right places. Source: 1 NEWS

The value of all the products the country exports by sea increased by 17 per cent in the past year, with wood and beef reaching new highs. 

But, ships are facing a long list of issues, including congested ports and skyrocketing costs for containers.

Oceania accounts for less than two per cent of global shipping routes, meaning the region is a lower priority in this worldwide problem. 

Export NZ executive director Catherine Beard said exporters were “stressed” about the future as they tried to figure out how they could satisfy their customers. 

“If you can't get your goods away and the cool stores are full, you've actually got to stop harvesting,” she said.

That stress is being felt all the way down the supply chain. A group of farmers protesting in Auckland today - a continuation of the “groundswell” protest two weeks ago - said they were worried. 

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“We’ve got great New Zealand produce here that we're donating because we can't get it off the wharf,” farmer Cameron Vernon said.

Container ship at Ports of Auckland (file picture). Source:

Farmer Murray Wymer said ships didn’t come to New Zealand “as they used to”. 

“They've kind of cut us off to a certain extent,” he said.

Brad Olsen, principal economist and director of Infometrics, said the country could lose hundreds of millions of dollars if it couldn’t match its normal export volumes. 

“Just as importantly, there’s a concern from some businesses that they may not be able to keep employing as many people if they can't get their products overseas,” he added.

With predictions shipping delays could last until 2023, exporters are discussing options like chartering ships.