21 Feb 2022

Exporters shoring up against Covid cargo crisis

From Nine To Noon, 9:10 am on 21 February 2022
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Photo: Mark De Lautour

New Zealand's key exporters are chartering private ships to ferry produce to foreign markets, amid a Covid-driven cargo crisis. Meat producers and fresh fruit and vege producers are struggling to get goods to overseas buyers because of on-going container ship congestion. 

As more goods are being shipped, and delays lay siege to best-by dates, meat company Affco has resorted to chartering private vessels to get exports - valued at close to $120m - to their overseas markets.

The company's third ship recently set sail from the Port of Tauranga, carrying 6,000 tonnes of frozen meat, destined for California and America's emptying meat aisles. And it's not just Affco.

Rival meat companies and other primary producers are on board.  In fact half the space in the first export vessel chartered was taken up by pip fruit exporters. 

Kathryn is joined by Simon Beale, both Logistics Manager for Turners and Growers, and Chair of the NZ Council of Cargo Owners and Mark de Lautour, Head of Affco sales and marketing, who have chartered three ships so far, and predicts this predicament is set to continue for three more years.