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Important Shipping Update

Auckland Empty Container Yard Congestion 

Empty shipping container congestion has spiked significantly for Auckland bound cargo in recent weeks, leaving importers and their transport providers incurring added costs from de-hire delays, yard storage of empties, futile truck trips, and additional administration.

Auckland container yards are at maximum capacity and only looking to accept empty containers as containers leave the yard for exports. This is causing a significant backlog of containers waiting to be de-hired. Transport providers are forced to divert empty containers back to their own yards while waiting for an available slot to de-hire, however, transport providers are also running out of space on their own depots trying to deal with a large volume of empty containers. 

Shipping lines are trying to put in place alternative de-hire options, however the alternative depots are unable to manage the vast number of containers waiting to be de-hired. Some shipping lines are starting to state the containers are to be de-hired in either Hamilton or Tauranga at the importers cost. 

We highly encourage importers to check the bill of lading for your consignments. Pauline Davies has made the following comment to CBAFF (Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Federation of NZ Inc): 

I just checked the MSC bill of lading form. The obligation on cargo interests is to return containers to the place nominated by the carrier, within the free period. It seems to me that if a place of redelivery is either not nominated by the carrier, or if it is impossible to return containers to that place, the right to charge detention does not arise. Contractual performance is simply not possible. If MSC continues to nominate a place that won’t accept empties, arguably the nomination is invalid. 

The following feedback have been received by the CBAFF: 

If there are any queries on detention invoices the individual companies should take this up with us directly. We are happy to review these and adjust where there is an issue beyond their control. This is the approach we have generally being taking in any of these circumstances. 

The team have been talking to the lines and we do now have evacs occurring over the coming days plus some of the new services to NZ have started to use their stock.
The update is that Oak will be able to receive again early next week, we have capacity in Hamilton and to some extent in our Panmure and Wiri Inland port yards. Tauranga remains just about coping albeit the greater export volumes expected next year may be difficult unless we can move some of our operations to the Te Puna site we are developing when the consents arrive.

Whilst our depots are quite full, we have not refused acceptance according to our team. However they did note and it seems depot have communicated extensively with trucking industry the need to pre book VBS slots at least 3 days prior to drop off.
As I understand it there are no delays in pickup at port however again the need to plan ahead is crucial. Happy to look at any specific concerns but think it’s just a matter of planning well ahead which is the new norm it seems. 

Certainly, a number of the depots have reached maximum capacity this week for the variety of reasons you mention below and Oak Rd in particular actually had to make the call to not open the gate due to the capacity pressures creating a safety issue. The key issue has been a lack of truck drivers to deliver containers for empty evacuation to the port with covid playing a factor in this. With all the depots being full it was difficult to nominate an alternate depot that had the ability to accept containers however we have arranged for empty containers to be accepted at the Link facility at Ports of Auckland and have been advising clients to deliver there. 

The advice from our depot provider earlier today is they’re confident they will be able to open again for receivals from Monday as they have a large number of containers scheduled for evacuation today & tomorrow, with more drivers available to get these moved. In the interim we believe there is sufficient capacity at Link to accept the container returns required today and tomorrow and also Saturday. We’ll keep communicating with the clients to ensure they’re aware of the Link option and believe we will see improvement in the situation early next week. 

T.S. Lines 
Yes, all depots are struggling, and all Lines are having this issue. If your container is currently set to de-hire at Containerco – please send us a mail and we will direct to Metrobox -which is also struggling but looks to improve faster. Please keep track of de-hire period where you are struggling and send us a mail if you receive a detention invoice with the period you were trying to de-hire from. I will then apply to waive any detention incurred. However, please actively keep looking for slots availability. 

Henning Harders will actively work with transport providers and shipping lines to find solutions for our clients, however, cannot be held liable for any detention fees arising for delayed container de- hires because of depot congestion issues. We appreciate your patience during this time as we understand the issues this is causing to our clients. 

If you are importing FCL shipments into New Zealand under pre-paid freight terms (CFR, CIF, CPT, DAT, DAP, DDP), please ensure your supplier requests additional free time at destination when placing bookings to minimize potential detention charges. Henning Harders will request the same when placing bookings on behalf of our clients. 

We will continue to evaluate all market options and work with you to provide individual solutions for your business. 

For more details on any of these articles please contact your Henning Harders Key Account Manager. 

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