Turners reports minimal impact after cargo ships turned away due to stink bug
By Rebecca Howard
Feb. 27 (BusinessDesk) - Turners Automotive Group, New Zealand's largest second-hand vehicle retailer, said there has been minimal impact on its business from cargo ships being turned away from local ports after brown marmorated stink bugs were detected and it is even seeing some short-term benefit.
Scores of stink bugs - considered a major biosecurity threat to grapes, kiwifruit, apples, citrus and stone fruit, corn and many other valuable crops - were detected by the Ministry of Primary Industries in three car carriers in recent weeks. MPI directed all three - carrying around 10,000 to 12,000 new and used vehicles and machinery - to leave New Zealand.
Turners, which operates both the Turners Cars and Buy Right Cars businesses, said its diversified supply chain meant its ability to meet consumer demand has not been impacted. While it has a small number of vehicles on the affected ships, the majority of its supply is in the New Zealand market as people buy and sell second-hand vehicles and it landed imported vehicles off other ships in the last week, it said.
Chief executive Todd Hunter said the company is even benefiting in the short-term as its wholesale auction channel provides an alternative supply option. Customers are also turning to large retailers due to their large supply of stock available, he said.
Last week MPI said all used vehicles - cars and trucks - will be required to undergo inspection and cleaning at an MPI-approved facility in Japan prior to export. Any used machinery or other types of used vehicles from Japan will require certification proving it has undergone cleaning by an appropriate provider, according to MPI.
The initial changes only affect used vehicles but MPI said it is also working with the new vehicle industry and will look to implement changes in that pathway as well.
Hunter said Turners supports MPI's actions: "Getting an effective solution on the supplier side has to be a critical part of the solution. Pleasingly, many of our Japanese suppliers have already started taking preventative actions to ensure stock is fumigated and bug-free before being loaded onto ships."
The stock last traded at $2.90 and has shed 23 percent over the past 12 months.