Friday, 11th December, 2020
Ports of Auckland is caught in a perfect storm, the cumulation of extraordinary global and local circumstances but the difficulties and performance issues should not ignite the lobby on the location of a new port, nor be a parochial, political football when ports around the country are working together to clear the unprecedented volume of freight, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO Michael Barnett.
“Only fools rush in. We need to stay calm and get some perspective. This is an extraordinary situation caused by the upheavals to normal freight flows from the pandemic and should not be used to pressure politicians to make an extraordinary bad decision that will not be in the best interests of all New Zealand in the long term,” he said. “POAL has to act decisively and with urgency to lift the game, hire the people to operate the cranes, bed down their automation and rebuild public confidence, but they should not be penalised for what many see as an own goal.”
An advocate for a national port strategy and development of a worldclass, automated, purpose built port in the Firth of Thames with connected rail and road transport hubs, Mr Barnett said Northport, one of the ports taking the overflow and vocal in its ambition to be the country’s main port instead of Auckland, will be dispatching up to 800 truckloads over the next week to get the goods to Auckland and down country.
“The sheer volume of heavy traffic and inadequacy of the roading infrastructure tells us that Northport is not the solution to our port infrastructure. Importers are going to wear a hefty bill for the extra freight costs wherever their goods have been offloaded and we, the consumers, will wear those higher prices eventually. It’s frustrating, but the cooperation and collaboration between the ports to get the goods through in time for Christmas should be the priority and is the best short-term solution.”
For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Business Chamber.