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New Zealand: Auckland waterfront chaos spills over to other ports

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Auckland's cargo chaos is affecting other ports around the country as they cope with their own congestion problems. Port of Auckland and freight companies have advised clients of delays and congestion.

Some ships had been diverted to Port of Tauranga. Centreport in Wellington also reported some knock on effects with ship calls sometimes doubling up rather than arriving in sequence.

But Lyttelton Port has experienced considerable congestion with truck drivers complaining about being able to deliver only two containers a day, with long queues as trucks wait their turn to offload containers.

Lyttelton Port Company marketing manager, Simon Munt, said there had been several causes including a ship engineering trouble: "In the past fortnight the terminal yard has been under pressure due to vessel delays relating to weather, and issues and delays experienced at Auckland Port. Bad weather in Asia affected several vessels on their journey to New Zealand, while issues in Auckland involving the upgrading of their automation process, has meant that part of their terminal is out of action.”

"The flow-on effect of ongoing disruption to vessel schedules has seen vessel arrivals clustered together with larger volumes of cargo discharged than loaded, including cargo destined for other ports. On top of this we have a broken down vessel taking up vital berth space in our container terminal and this is impacting the working of vessels, this flows onto road operations.”

Munt acknowledged the disruption on trucking companies. "We are keeping customers notified of the delays and trying to move volume quickly. We are in the process of commissioning eight new straddle carriers that will offer some capacity increases over the next few weeks.”

However, Stuff noticed that not all truck drivers were mollified. One of them who wished to remain anonymous said the port's booking system included a system of fines if drivers were late - except when the port caused the delay.