The National Road Carrier’s Association and the Ports of Auckland are partnering to change New Zealand’s supply chain. The initiative comes after supply chain issues came to light following an accident at Ports of Auckland earlier in the year.

“The supply chain is running at capacity, so unexpected problems can have a domino effect,” explained David Aitken, National Road Carriers CEO. “At its heart, the problem is Auckland’s growth. The supply chain needs to evolve and we’re all going to have to change the way we work to prevent future problems. Better planning and coordination are the key. We’re letting stakeholders know what causes hold-ups and we’re working with partners to improve our end-to-end processes.”

Craig Sain, Ports of Auckland’s general manager commercial relationships stated that in the last 12 months over half of all container ships arrived at Auckland late, often as a result of bad weather, this leads to congestion at the port. Labour shortages in both the trucking industry and at the port have also added to the supply chain issues.

The port is currently installing an automated container handling system to help ease the problems, but the work required to install the system has reduced terminal capacity by about 20 percent, adding to congestion. This situation will remain until late 2019 when the project will be completed.

Another problem is that getting containers off the port can be delayed because there is nowhere for the containers to go. The port works 24/7 and has the capacity at nights and weekends, but often distribution centres, importer's warehouses and empty container depots are closed at these times.

Using a combination of new technology, greater coordination and 24/7 operating hours the two organisations hope to find solutions to these issues.

“As a port, we have a key role to play, and we are trying to educate other players in the supply chain so that they understand the need for change and what they can do to make the process more efficient,” added Sain. “Ultimately, these changes will benefit New Zealand through the fast, efficient and cost-effective delivery of freight.”