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Port battles freight backlog

Recruitment drive aims to help address the unexpected level of demand on the shipping supply chain.
Posted on 22 December, 2020
Port battles freight backlog

Ports of Auckland (POAL) is hiring more staff to help tackle delays for processing shipments coming in and out of the country.

The global shipping supply chain is struggling with disruptions because of Covid-19, putting pressure on port operations and often limiting the availability of space on vessels.

POAL spokesman Matt Ball says it has launched a recruitment drive to address the unexpected level of demand for its services.

“We simply don’t have enough people to handle the current import peak, which started earlier and is lasting longer than normal import peaks,” he explains. 

“We are hiring more people to deal with this, but it takes time to both hire and train people

“Ports around the world are congested, particularly import ports which have been flooded with much higher than predicted demand. This in turn is impacting exports as the empty containers needed for exports are delayed in the wider supply chain and shipping services are also delayed. 

“Other ports are affected, including Tauranga, which also handles exports from the Auckland area.”

For vehicle imports, the impact on roll-on, roll-off vessels has so far been limited to just a few days, but cars arriving in containers are sometimes being held up for weeks.

New Zealand companies have reported facing export shipment delays of up to six weeks because of a lack of containers available and POAL battling to unload ships waiting out at sea.

Businesses fear such delays will continue into the first quarter of 2021, reports the NZ Herald.