Connector Series - November 2020

With the numerous events of change and disruption to container shipping services to and from New Zealand in recent weeks we would like to keep you updated about ongoing developments.

  • The effects of the industrial actions in Australia are expected to ease slightly through November with the Ports and Carriers working hard on clearing the backlog. However, depending on the outcome of further consultation and negotiation between the parties, the situation is at risk of worsening in December, which may result in disruptions flaring up again.

  • Congestion at Ports of Auckland continues to build. Berthing windows remain suspended and vessels are worked based on their arrival which results in waiting times of 8-10 days for vessels to be assigned a berth. We expect this time may deteriorate further. The congestion at the Port of Tauranga is building accordingly, with vessel delays approaching an additional 4 days on top of the Auckland impact.

  • There is congestion too in the Panama Canal. Reportedly vessels are facing a risk of waiting times of up to 14 days for a passage slot. The Panamanian Authorities have imposed COVID-19 related lockdowns and restrictions, limiting the number of workers at the canal and enforcing additional procedures for transiting vessel. Bearing360 expects a potential negative impact on exports to the US East Coast, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile (Chile being routed via the Panama Canal in transhipment on the Caribbean side of the Canal in Cristobal).

  • The port of Singapore continues to be heavily congested, as outlined in our last customer advisory. This impacts many feeder connections to South East Asian ports, with connections to Manila being one of the worst affected, and probably not improving for the remainder of the year. We see a greater chance of smaller shipments connecting to feeder vessels due to restrictive measures applied on splitting lots, which you might want to consider when booking.

  • Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) are imposing a new Port Infrastructure Levy with effect from 1 January 2021.  While LPC will charge the Shipping Lines directly with this new charge at NZD 34.50/TEU for every full container (excl. transhipments) we anticipate it will be fully passed through to shippers, potentially with an administration charge added.  We can confirm that our pricing to our customers will include the charges exactly as passed on by the shipping lines, we will not have any additional Bearing360 administration charge added.

  • Port of Tauranga has introduced a Late Receival Fee of NZD 58.65 per container received after vessel cut-off with effect of 1 Oct 2020. With regards to the various schedule changes happening currently daily, we have been in close contact with our partner lines on updated cut-off times as to avoid these charges for our customers wherever possible. However, we would like to raise awareness that gating in a full container after the cut-off might incur the fee levied by the Port of Tauranga.

  • As a result of the number of operational disruptions, the Port of Tauranga is experiencing a surge of import and export container volumes diverted from Auckland, which has in-turn, put substantial pressure on the rail link to and from Auckland. While all efforts are being undertaken to clear the backlog, volume caps and VBS booking restrictions have been implemented to ensure optimised rail capacity and avoid a temporary closure of MetroPort. Port of Tauranga expects an improvement by these measures to allow for a lift of the limitations in course of the next 3-6 weeks.

  • In addition, the Port of Tauranga has advised that free time for import containers to be uplifted from port (Port of Tauranga and MetroPort) will be reduced from five days to four days with effect from 16 November 2020.  This is another move aimed at keeping cargo moving in an effort to minimise congestion within the terminals.

In view of the numerous operational constraints we have seen equipment availability in many NZ ports come under great pressure through limited repositioning options and the impact of congestion. To avoid operational disruptions to your supply chains as much as possible, we would like to ask you to kindly place bookings as early and far in advance as possible. Thank you for your support.

We would like to re-assure you that our teams and service providers are working tirelessly on solutions to provide you the best possible customer service in order to keep the impact on your operations as limited as possible.

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