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Bombings may make Europe tighten trade security

News release

For immediate release

22 July 2005

Exporters warned to be ready if London bombings drive Europe to tighten trade security

One of New Zealand's top exporters warns the country could face major trade problems if Europe tightens security in the wake of this month's terrorist attacks.

Bill Gallagher, chief executive of the major Hamilton-based producer and exporter of security systems, says it could take a bomb in only one container to spark mass inspections and delays which would result in "mayhem".

Gallagher says the country's major exporters – 200 firms are responsible for 80% of all exports – need to move quickly to ensure they protect their supply chains.

His own firm will on Monday become a secure supplier under Custom's Secure Exporters Partnership Scheme.

Under this scheme, security extends to securing production, warehousing and container packing.

Secure partner containers carry special seals and are less likely to be halted for inspection by Customs here (sometimes at the request of overseas customs authorities). They are also less likely to face X-ray and other Custom inspection fees than non-secure partners.

Gallagher Group has installed its own PowerFence perimeter security fence and Cardax access security systems at its Hamilton site, where about $50 million in products leave for overseas markets each year. Its secure partnership agreement with Customs comes into effect on Monday (July 25).

Gallagher says fellow exporters need to seriously consider securing the whole export supply chain.

"It will only take one container to go 'boom' going into the US or Europe and we could see the start of mass inspections and a major log jam in trade. That would be mayhem. Secure export partners will be less likely to be stopped for inspection. It will deliver significant advantages," Gallagher says.

Gallagher systems are being used to secure port company facilities in Auckland, Tauranga, Taranaki, Nelson, Dunedin and Bluff. Customs aims to have 78 major exporters – responsible for 80% of all exports to the United States – in secure export partnerships by June next year.

Gallagher says, given the current attacks in London, exporters may be best advised to move sooner rather than later to secure their supply chains.

The last time New Zealand experienced a crippling delay, through mass container inspections, was in Europe in the 1980s. France decided to stop and inspect trucks delivering New Zealand goods during the Rainbow Warrior controversy.


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