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NRC Concerned By Container Offload At Northport

A sudden decision to move a large in-bound container ship to Northport to discharge 1,300 containers raises serious safety concerns, says National Road Carriers (NRC) Chief Executive David Aitken.

Mr Aitken was commenting on the announcement from ANZEX ANL shipping line that the Constantinos P has been diverted from Ports of Auckland to Northport due to congestion at the Auckland port. The Constantinos P is expected to offload all 1,300 Auckland-bound containers at Northport on 6 December. The container ship was scheduled to arrive at Port of Auckland on 5 December, but congestion had pushed that berthing date back to 22 December.

“The road transport industry is already keenly aware of the supply chain issues and disruptions at the Ports of Auckland,” Mr Aitken says.

“However, we believe unloading 1,300 containers from the largest-ever ship to visit Northport raises significant safety concerns.”

Mr Aitken says the discharge at Northport will require 2,600 road trips for trucks to travel to Northport to pick up the containers and then bring them back to Auckland.

“From a road safety point of view, this is not an ideal situation. There is poor roading infrastructure between Auckland and Northport, including two accident black spots at Dome Valley and the Brynderwyns.

“The trucks will not only be interacting with busy December traffic – our members will need to ensure that any drivers sent north have the necessary experience to navigate the Northland roads – linehaul presents different challenges to driving metropolitan Auckland roads,” he says.

Mr Aitken says taking many trucks out of circulation and sending them to Northport will also have a knock-on effect on the Auckland and Waikato supply chains.

As the move to Northport is being treated as a Force Majeure event, extra costs for bringing the 1300 containers to Auckland will be charged to the goods’ importers, raising the possibility of price rises for the ultimate consumers.

Mr Aitken says the issue has highlighted the problems across the supply chain and the lack of an optimal alternatives. The rail link to Northport does not reopen until 11 January, so all these containers will need to be moved by road.

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