Spanner in works of shipping schedules

Port Otago’s container wharf was quiet yesterday as global shipping delays continue to affect...
Port Otago’s container wharf was quiet yesterday as global shipping delays continue to affect schedules. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Port Otago is still feeling the "knock-on" effect of the global shipping delay caused by the pandemic.

Covid-19 has caused delays at ports around the world and New Zealand is no exception.

Port Otago chief executive, Kevin Winders said Port Otago was a link in the chain of the network of ports.

"A lot of it is out of our control ... it’s a bit up and down at the moment.

"So, when you have limited resources, we just have to do our best and our team are doing a great job," he said.

Three service ships usually called into Port Chalmers a week but the delay affected the frequency of these visits.

"Last week, we had no service calls and then they are trying to catch up over the next week, 10 days."

While the delay was bringing some quiet lows, port staff were catching up on other jobs.

"That’s when we try and redeploy staff on to staff training and get them to take some leave and have some down time," he said.

It’s just juggling that up and down.

On top of the shipping delays, there had been a short supply of empty containers arriving.

The empty containers are recycled through the New Zealand supply chain and reloaded with exports.

Mr Winders said the container supply was "pretty tight".

"When you get gaps and ships are feeding you empties to supply to the customer to fill up ... you chew through the supply pretty quickly.

"Its a real challenge for our customers," he said.

In February, RNZ reported, Transport Minister Michael Wood warned that supply chain problems at the ports would continue for much of this year.

Mr Wood said domestically there were problems with cranes and staffing at Auckland Port, creating a "perfect storm".

The ministry was working to bring the supply chain sector to derive solutions, he said.

- By Riley Kennedy

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