Larger ports eyed as freight prices rise

Port of Tauranga. File Image. SunLive.

Exporters should consider moving cargo to major North Island ports, such as the Port of Tauranga, rather than waiting for a ship to arrive at smaller ports of call, according to one freight director.

The price of shipping freight is 10 times more than it was prior to the pandemic,  with the World Container Index up 82 percent mid-January over than the same time in 2020 at $US9544 ($NZ14,200) per 40-foot container.

Rates are expected to rise ahead of China's Lunar New Year, driven by continued strong demand and tight capacity.

Easy Freight director Alex Gukalo says New Zealand shippers were paying a premium on top of that, with some still having difficulty getting their cargo off the dock at any price.

He says some international shipping companies were bypassing New Zealand's smaller ports.

"It might be a good idea to reposition some cargo closer to larger ports, because lots of big shipping lines, they now are omitting smaller ports, like, for example, Dunedin, Napier, Lyttleton sometimes,” he says.

“So it's a good idea to move the cargo closer to Tauranga or Auckland for example.”

Gukalo also recommends exporters put their orders in as quickly and as far ahead as possible because shipping lines operated on a first-come-first-served basis, and offer cheaper rates for early bookings.


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