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Source: Maritime Union of New Zealand

As concerns about New Zealand’s supply chain grow, the Maritime Union says the answers are there to alleviate shipping and port congestion.

Numerous industry sources are predicting ongoing disruption over the Christmas period into the New Year, with no end in sight.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says there are multiple problems in the global supply chain, but New Zealand has left itself exposed due to bad policies.

He says a short term profit approach had resulted in a brittle supply chain that was now failing.

As the shipping shortage worsened, global operators were focussed on bigger international markets and New Zealand was missing out, he says.

“The world has changed very quickly, and we need to quickly build up New Zealand capability to move our goods.”

New Zealand businesses are now having to charter ships to get their products to markets.

Mr Harrison says the danger of this fragmented approach is some major operators may get serviced, but smaller regional industries may find themselves locked out.

“We need to have a New Zealand coastal shipping fleet for domestic and regional services, and we need to look at a nationally co-ordinated system for chartering vessels, crewed by New Zealand seafarers.”

There are positive signs with a commitment from the Government and funding to develop coastal shipping, but Mr Harrison says the situation requires more bold and innovative thinking.

The Maritime Union is campaigning to get New Zealand coastal shipping providing dedicated capability on a hub and spoke model between international and regional ports.

“It is now clear that a maritime trade based nation like New Zealand needs to have security and resilience in its supply chain, and that means New Zealand shipping capability.”

MIL OSI