Ports of Auckland (PoAL) is making it their priority to do everything they can to help with the current biosecurity risk posed by stink bugs.
The three ships which were originally turned away are now allowed to return to Auckland but under strict treatment rules enforced by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Ports of Auckland communications manager Matt Ball told Autofile. “We’ve been working closely with the shipping lines, MPI and the heat treatment provider to understand what that means in practice. The short version is that it will take weeks to process these vessels.
“Auckland has the only heat treatment facilities in the country which can handle around 10 to 15 cars a day, while several hundred cars from the three returning vessels have to be treated. And we don’t yet know how heavy vehicles will be treated.”
“The knock-on consequence is that these ships could be at berth for several weeks which will put pressure on our other available berths.
“As you’ll know we’re already tight for space and due to public opposition to wharf extensions, we’ve been unable to build any extra berths.
“Aside from the returning vessels, others are on the way to New Zealand. Vessels which don’t call at Japan are unaffected and we aim to get them processed as fast as possible. Vessels which have called at Japan will be subject to greater MPI scrutiny and if more bugs are found they could also be turned away.”
PoAL are also concerned of a bottleneck scenario when the above issue is managed.
“Once a long-term solution to this issue is worked out, we could find we have the opposite problem to the one we have now, lots of cars arriving all at once. This could overload the supply chain and we could experience the sort of congestion we had 12 months ago with ships having to wait at anchor, said Ball.
“Again, we’ll work with lines and transporters to manage this situation. What we’re also doing is updating our business rules to streamline the supply chain.”
Due to the small area PoAL are working around, their main focus has to be on getting vehicles off-wharf as efficiently as possible.
“We should always look for efficiencies before building new infrastructure. Recent changes we’ve made have led to an increase in Saturday and Sunday work and this will help if we get a post-bug surge of imports.”
“It’s a tough time, but we hope the situation will return to normal as soon as possible and that New Zealand will remain free of this dreadful pest.”
Today the Tokyo Car moved to Winyard Wharf to make way for another Armacup ship, the Morning Minad, which is currently offloading vehicles. This is the first time a PCC has had to layby at Wynyard.