Maritime Union backs freight industry over shipping line profiteering

In News, Scania2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 18, 2021

The Maritime Union of New Zealand is backing the freight industry over concerns of profiteering.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid said global shipping lines are profiteering from the Covid-19 with skyrocketing rates, driving up the cost of imported goods.

He told Radio New Zealand that something needed to be done about the behaviour of shipping companies.

“They’re not honouring any of the contracts that they might well have entered into prior, and, you know, frankly, I think things need to be done to pull them back into line,” he said.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison said the union supported Braid‘s comments. 

He said the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the supply chain exposed how vulnerable New Zealand‘s trade links are.

“New Zealand is dependent on global shipping lines whose interests are not the same as New Zealand‘s.”

Harrison said ongoing issues with supply chain congestion, missed ship calls to ports, and extreme surges in the cost of freight, are causing significant damage to the economy.

He added the fact that Mainfreight are now chartering ships to move cargo internationally was a major development and illustrated a change in thinking.

“The entire global logistics system is broken, and now we need to focus on new solutions that provide security and reliability.”

Harrison said the Maritime Union is pushing for New Zealand-owned and operated coastal shipping.

This would provide feeder services between main “hub” ports and smaller “spoke” ports.

International vessels are permitted to carry domestic freight between New Zealand ports – but in the current situation, port calls are being missed as a result of shipping lines having other priorities for their schedules.

Harrison said there needs to be a national ports strategy where investment and planning is based on national requirements, not parochial competition between ports.

“The only people benefiting from the current chaos are global shipping companies.”