30 Mar 2023

Loss of up to 60 jobs at after Maersk pulls service

7:10 pm on 30 March 2023
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Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Maritime workers will picket outside Port Nelson this weekend over a loss of jobs and disruptions to shipping services.

It comes after global shipping company Maersk cancelled the Coastal Connect container service linking New Zealand ports.

Maritime Union of New Zealand national secretary Craig Harrison said the New Zealand crewed ships Maersk Nadi and Maersk Nansha had been in service for less than a year on this run.

The decision had resulted the loss of up to 60 jobs of crew members and disruption to New Zealand supply chains.

Harrison said New Zealand has an ongoing supply chain crisis, with goods taking longer to be imported, exported and moved around New Zealand.

"This decision by Maersk shows that we need to take our coastal shipping capability more seriously."

Maritime Union was calling for government support for a New Zealand owned coastal shipping operator to provide a priority service for the country's ports.

Coastal shipping on the "blue highway" was an efficient and low emissions mode of keeping New Zealand moving, Harrison said.

Coastal shipping also provided resilience in a volatile world and in the face of natural disasters, he said.

Maritime Union was also proposing changes to the Maritime Transport Act to prioritise New Zealand flagged and crewed ships on New Zealand's coast.

It wants to see more training and high quality employment opportunities for New Zealanders in the maritime industry.

Seafarers will picket outside Port Nelson, across the road from the Haven Road Dairy from 10.30am on Sunday.