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NZ Customs updates previous advice

On 16 February, New Zealand Customs sent an important notice relating to vehicles carried on the four vessels infested with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Tokyo Car voyage 1802, Courageous Ace voyage 121A, Sepang Express voyage 44 and Glovis Caravel.

NZ Customs advised that an export entry would be required and a subsequent import declaration when the vessel returned to New Zealand.  This advice is now withdrawn.
“Following consultation with some industry members, we are now updating our advice on how these vehicles can be re-entered into New Zealand,” said NZ Customs in their latest update. 

“Customs will initiate an amendment to the original import declarations to change the date of importation.  This will not require any action by brokers/declarants for import declarations already lodged or cleared because the amendments will be system generated once the new dates of importation are known.”
“This amendment approach does not affect duty, GST and other charges debited to Broker Deferred and Client Deferred accounts when the original Import Entries were cleared.  This is because those charges are triggered by Entry Clearance, not date of importation.”
“The original entry charges will appear as usual on deferred payment account statements for the period,  and GST registered entities can claim GST credits from Inland Revenue.”

Glovis Caravel – Source: Port Canaveral

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Tokyo car update

Current location of Tokyo Car – MarineTraffic

Armacup has been working very closely with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) on establishing a programme which would allow their car carrier, Tokyo Car to return to Auckland for further fogging treatment followed by re-inspection and controlled discharge.

As a result, Tokyo Car has been granted approval to berth today and undergo another round of “fogging”.

“Fogging” is a process during which an insecticide is applied in the cargo holds. This insecticide is not potent enough to guarantee 100% kill rate of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) but will irritate the bug sufficiently to make it active which then would make it detectable to inspectors.

Armacup are still working through the finer details of the “controlled discharge” with MPI and there will be an update after MPI has inspected the vessel tomorrow morning after completion of the fogging process.

“As a New Zealand company, we are committed to the protection of our borders and are in full support of MPI,” said Armacup

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MPI to amend Import Health Standard

In response to the threat of the stink bug biohazard aboard car carriers, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) announced today that it will be amending the Import Health Standard, effective immediately.
  • Pre-shipping inspection will now be required for all used vehicles and machinery from ports in Japan.
  • MPI is also working with the new vehicle industry and is looking to implement changes across this pathway as well.
  • This week, shipping lines and importers will be trialling a proposed treatment programme, and systematic testing, on one of the affected ships when it returns to port in Auckland.  
  • This approach is not yet an approved biosecurity system, and cannot be considered a silver bullet solution. MPI will continue to treat each ship on a case-by-case basis.
  • Longer-term measures are also now being worked on, to ensure that all used vehicles are cleared of any insects before export, and that none arrive live in destination ports in the future.
    We are well aware that this issue is having a severe impact on our supply chain, and that businesses and jobs are at risk. However, biosecurity is paramount for New Zealand’s wider economy and must not be compromised.

If you find any evidence of insect infestation, phone the 24/7 MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and report it immediately. 

More info is available on the MPI website.
For any questions, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email

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VIA announces update on stink bugs

As previously reported, a cross-industry working group was established last week in response to the stink bug threat.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has today advised the group on proposed immediate treatment measures for ships already affected. 

This week, shipping lines and importers will be trialling a proposed treatment programme, and systematic testing, to see if these are effective at killing the bugs on the vessels that were denied entry. 

MPI discourages vessels en route to Auckland or waiting to be loaded in Japanese ports in arriving without having taken appropriate measures to remove the risk. 

MPI has also applied for permission to use restricted pest control substances, if this becomes necessary. VIA and the MIA, working jointly on behalf of industry, have approached the relevant Government ministers in support of this application.

VIA are aware that this issue is having a severe impact on our supply chain, and that businesses and jobs are at risk, but they are determined on reaching a solution will keep the industry and those involved informed of all developments.

If you find any evidence of insect infestation, phone the 24/7 MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and report it immediately

More info is available on the MPI website.

For any questions, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email

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Positive news for drifting car carriers

Mitsuki Osk Lines (MOL) has revealed a tentative plan for the return of the Courageous Ace and the Glovis Caravel to New Zealand.
Courageous Ace
  • Currently drifting off Brisbane.
  • The car carrier will be fogged at sea by a fumigation company in Brisbane.
  • The time frame of the procedure is to be determined due swells from Cyclone Gita.
  • On completion of the fogging, the Courageous Ace will sail for Auckland. 
  • On arrival in Auckland the vessel will be accessed for Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs 
    (BMSB) and Yellow Spotted Stink Bugs (YSSB) by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

Current location of the Courageous Ace – MarineTraffic

Glovis Caravel
  • The vessel is currently drifting North, off the Noumea coast.
  • Vessel will be fogged by a fumigation company either off the Brisbane coast or the Auckland coast.
  • On completion of fogging the Glovis Caravel V.16A will sail for or berth in Auckland
  • On arrival Auckland vessel will be accessed for BMSB/YSSB by MPI. 

Current location of the Glovis Caravel – MarineTraffic

MOL have also released a tentative vessel schedule for both car carriers, subject to weather conditions and MPI approval:


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NZ Customs releases notice

New Zealand Customs have released an important notice outlining the actions the four vessels must undertake in order for Customs clearance. 

In recent days four ships have been affected by infestations of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. Three have been ordered to leave by MPI and one has voluntarily changed its route to New Zealand.

Some of these ships have been deemed to have ‘arrived’ in New Zealand and import declarations have been entered and passed with either Deferred Accounts or Cash Accounts being debited or raised. 

Customs advises that for vessels that have ‘arrived’ in New Zealand actions should be undertaken for Custom to clear their cargo:

  • Export entries should be lodged for the goods with corresponding Import Lodgement number /Importing Vessel identified in the Description. (NB: Drawback entries would be considered but would not relate to any GST portion as this would need to be pursued through IRD)
  • Should the goods subsequently be re-imported back into New Zealand another import declaration would need to be lodged claiming ‘Returned NZ Goods’ status with no duties (incl GST) being payable. This is provided that no Drawback or GST for export has been claimed.
  • In the instances where Customs has already approved requests for the cancellation of entries no further action will be necessary however any future requests for cancellation of entries for goods on these craft will not be approved.

One of the vessels, Glovis Caravel, has changed its route prior to arrival in New Zealand so the goods are not considered to have been imported. In this situation there is an additional option to apply for the cancellation of the entry and any subsequent deferred payment debit will be erased or refunded (if paid).

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MPI congratulated

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, says the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) should be congratulated for taking the right action in turning back car carriers carrying hundreds of stink bugs that pose a huge biosecurity threat. 

“Over the last few days MPI has turned around two large cargo vessels because one of the most damaging pests to the kiwifruit and wider horticultural industries — the brown marmorated stink bug was found hitchhiking on both ships” said O’Neil.

There are now four car carriers that have been asked to leave New Zealand waters due to the biosecurity risk. 

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a pest that could destroy New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable industries. It also infests homes, ruins gardens, and stinks when crushed says O’Neil.

“That is why KVH is pleased with the ongoing diligence of MPI to detect these stink bugs at the border and we fully support the serious steps they have been taking to manage the risk of it getting here, including these recent cases of requiring treatment to take place offshore before allowing high-risk ships and cargo to enter and unload goods at our Ports.

“The decisions may not always be popular with those importing goods, but the rules are very clear, and they are stringent for a reason. Unwanted pests like the BMSB could cause hundreds of millions of dollars damage to the New Zealand economy and heavily affect growers’ livelihoods if it were to establish here.”

Working alongside MPI, industry groups including KVH have been working hard to raise awareness of the threat and impact of BMSB crossing our borders.

This work has included meetings with importers and transporters of machinery and other high-risk goods to ensure they are fully aware of the biosecurity measures they must take.

KVH has also been working with kiwifruit growers, Zespri, MPI and the wider kiwifruit industry to ensure preparedness for BMSB, if it were to arrive and establish here. This includes running awareness programmes and simulation exercises. 


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Vinsen cancels trip to work on crisis

David Vinsen, chief executive officer of VIA (Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association) has decided to cancel his long planned motor cycling holiday in Australia to return to New Zealand to assist in resolving the industry crisis surrounding the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) infestations in pure car carriers arriving from Japan. 

In a phone call to Autofile last night Vinsen explained that the issue was sufficiently serious that he would be cancelling his planned trip and return home. 

“I believe the industry needs to call on all of our resources to work through this issue as quickly as possible, VIA will provide the leadership necessary to coordinate all efforts required to resolve this matter as quickly as possible,” says Vinsen. 

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Company urges call to action

Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) officials met with industry representatives yesterday in an effort to explore ways of finding a solution to the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) issue that is currently affecting imports of vehicles to New Zealand.
Immediately following the meeting, Jacanna Customs and Freight issued an email to clients and interested parties in the automotive industry in an effort to find a suitable resolution.

“There is still no solution for the current vessels but all parties are working hard to find a way a forward.

“The only viable product that MPI recognises (apart from heat treatment which cannot be done for this volume of cars) will eliminate the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is to fumigate with Sulfuryl Fluoride. The issue is that this product cannot be used in New Zealand territory and needs to be imported.

“Australia will not allow the vessels to berth to have the treatment carried out and the fumigation companies are weary of doing the fumigation at sea.

“The best option is for the MPI to allow Sulfuryl Fluoride to be used under emergency situation in New Zealand ports. MPI have already put this in front of the Minister but more pressure needs to be applied for a quick response. If we leave the process to play out it could take weeks.

“We believe that a way forward is for you and everyone that you know to contact your local MP and tell them the hardship that this situation will have on you and your business and all your associated businesses like compliance centres, paint shops etc …. get them to contact their MPs as well.

“The more pressure that can be put on Government to ratify Sulfuryl Fluoride the sooner it can be used and the sooner you will be able to get your vehicles. Please contact your local MP today!”  

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What are stink bugs?

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and the yellow spotted stink bug (YSSB) has spread to the United States and Europe from Asia. However, the stink bugs have not established in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Primary Industries have caught the pest at the border many times, hitchhiking on passengers and in imported goods such as vehicles and machinery.

 What is the risk?

BMSB and YSSB are agricultural pests found in Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea; it has aggressively invaded the US and could successfully establish in New Zealand.

How the insect destroys crops:

  • The insect feeds on more than 300 hosts, primarily fruit trees and woody ornamentals but also field crops.
  • A broad range of crops can be attacked including: citrus; pipfruit; stonefruit; berries, grapes, asparagus, soybeans, sweetcorn, honeysuckle, maple, butterfly bush, cypress, hibiscus and roses.
  • Adults generally feed on mature and immature fruit, while nymphs feed on leaves and stems as well as fruit.
  • It severely disfigures fruit and renders it unmarketable, which results in control costs and production losses.

In the US some farmers have reported crop losses of up to 95 per cent. 

BMSB is not a risk to human health but is a public nuisance. When disturbed or crushed it emits a characteristic, unpleasant and long-lasting odour.

 What do they look like?
  • Adults are approximately 1.7 cm long, around a size of a one dollar coin, with a distinctive “shield” shape. 
  • There are currently two types, the brown and the yellow spotted.
  • Underside is white/tan, legs and antennae are brown with white banding.
  • Eggs are barrel shaped, and found in clusters of 20–30 eggs. These eggs are laid on the underside of leaves.


How are the stink bugs currently affecting New Zealand?

The presence of stink bugs onboard four car carriers bound for New Zealand have forced the ships to leave New Zealand waters and await correct fumigation procedures.

Three of the car carriers had already reached New Zealand’s shores with stink bug infestations: Armacup​’s Tokyo Car, Mitsui OSK Line’s Courageous Ace, and the latest being Toyofuji’s Sepang Express.

The fourth, Glovis Caravel, was bound for New Zealand, however the car carrier was redirected on Wednesday after a check conducted at sea found the two types of stink bugs, the YSSB and BMSB.
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Jobs at risk due to stink bugs

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) have arranged an industry meeting this afternoon to discuss the recent biosecurity risk posed by Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) and Yellow Spotted Stink Bugs (YSSB) found on car carriers.

Three car carriers have already reached New Zealand’s shores with stink bug infestations this month: Armacup​’s Tokyo Car, Mitsui OSK Line’s Courageous Ace, and the latest being Toyofuji’s Sepang Express. 

Glovis Caravel was bound for New Zealand, however the car carrier was redirected on Wednesday after a check conducted at sea found the two types of stink bugs, the YSSB and BMSB.

MPI considers the trade out of Japan a high risk for BMSB and YSSB.

It is presumed the meeting will be discussing how to clear the uncertainties arising from the presence of the stink bugs and the ramifications for the auto industry.

VIA’s website states that the motor vehicle importation industry is worth an estimated $100 million a year to New Zealand, including $80m in Auckland.

A disruption like this can have enormous consequences and can affect thousands of jobs, from inspectors to mechanics. 

2017 saw 331,641 new and used passenger and commercial vehicles entering the country.  

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