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Striking workers see Ports of Auckland lose Maersk service

Industrial unrest at Ports of Auckland has played a part in Maersk’s schedule changes that will see its weekly Southern Star service call at Tauranga rather than Auckland.

The company’s Northern Star service will continue to call at Auckland. The “Two Stars” provide New Zealand-based shippers with direct access to the Asian hub ports of Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas.

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson was advised of the news by Maersk early this morning.

“Naturally, we are hugely disappointed,” he says.  “The Southern Star was one of Auckland’s largest shipping services.”

The port company will lose 52 ship calls, 82,500 containers (123,600 TEU), and nearly $20m in revenue annually.

“Maersk have explained to us that the possibility of further industrial unrest has been central to their decision to shift the service to Tauranga.”

Mr Gibson said his worst fears had been realised: “We had already warned the union that their strike action, during one of the busiest times in the shipping schedule, could cost Ports of Auckland a major customer and threaten jobs.”

“However, despite these warnings, a very fair offer on the table and a further offer of a paid stop work meeting, the union proceeded with its strike over last weekend, has already given notice of another strike this Friday, and is continuing to signal the possibility of further strikes, saying publicly it will do ‘whatever it takes.’”

“Given the magnitude of this service loss we have decided to postpone mediation till later in the week,” Mr Gibson said. “We need time to work through the implications of the change in relation to the collective bargaining process.”

The service loss is effective from this week’s vessel, the Euro Max voyage 126N, which will now call Tauranga on Saturday 10 December.

Maersk Line New Zealand trade & Marketing Manager Dave Gulik said he did not expect a material change to total transit times for local exporters and importers.

“Most of the export cargoes we currently ship out of Auckland are coming out of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region, and those exporters’ transport and logistics operations tend to be port-neutral,” Mr Gulik said.

“Imports coming into Auckland are generally destined for the major distribution hubs in South Auckland, which are served by Port of Tauranga’s inland MetroPort. Any change to total transit time one way or the other is likely to be a matter of hours at the most,” he said.

Mr Gulik said industrial unrest at Ports of Auckland had played a part in Maersk’s decision to alter the service.

“The security of their supply chain is of primary importance to our customers, so anything affecting that, or likely to affect that in the future, will come into the equation when we are deciding schedules,” he said.

Maersk currently operates the Northern Star and Southern Star services in conjunction with Malaysian Line MISC Berhad, which last month announced plans to exit the container shipping business in June next year.

Mr Gulik said Maersk intended to maintain the Two Stars in their present form after MISC withdrew, meaning Maersk’s New Zealand customers would continue to enjoy the same level of coverage and the same connections to the company’s global networks.

Comments and questions

Looks like someone been taught a lesson of what to do and not what to do.

What a load of crap. another chance to blame it on the unions when it had nothing to do with them - just like the hobbit debacle.

Feel better now after that thought provoking outburst?

Alasdair makes me laugh, what planet is he living on! Get real, the unions are self destructing and taking Ports of Auckland with it in the process.

Perhaps you might like to give it a bit more thought while you chat with Robyn Malcolm on the dole queue beside you. Obviously the NBR needs to improve its f**kwit filter that eliminates comments by the likes of you.

Like the old song said .."With a hell of a shout its out brothers out and the rise of the factory fall..."
"You wont get me Im part of the Union..."
The borthers have voted for fewer jobs at Auckland wharfs perhaps the brothers have beach properties at Tauranga ?, reminds me of somthing about cutting off ones nose to ....


New name for the union - The Twits

Shooting oneself in the foot comes to mind.

I can't believe that in this day and age people still listen to the Unions.....most of the workers down at the port are happy to have their jobs and be paid what they are already paid. It is a smaller group who are being manipulated by the Union who will ruin it for all.
Fonterra are going to pull out as well then these unionists will be on the dole - well done fellas!

and lets not forget, this is the Labour Party's tactics to "improve productivity" - no wonder the majority of NZ resoundly rejected their "policies" at election time.

The article title should be "Workers held to ransom by Unions - costs $20m contract"

These union thugs should be ashamed of themselves - or are they too busy trying to decide on who will be the next Labour leader>


Maybe there are a few old fella's who want to retire but get a bit more cash if they are made redundant???

Newsflash - Port of Tauranga shares +20c have traded at $10.05 today.

The Unions have just cost Auckland Ratepayers an estimated $140 million - calculated as $20mill - variable operating costs of say $6 million = $14 million * multiple of 10 (ports of Tauranga multiple). Each of the estimated 270,000 ratepayers have just lost in value over $500 of value. When will the unions get it - no wonder the country doesnt want the union dominanted Labour party.

You have to question the motivation when one of the strikers is pictured holding a banner captioned 'No asset sales'.

Proof that the ports should be a PPE, Ports of Tauranga is a ppe and there is never those sort of problems down there. Effectively these unionized employees just got themselves layed off.

Pardon my ignorance, but what on earth is a PPE?

I can't believe that the Fire fighters backed this self descrutive move.
I guess the sooner the Wharfies are all laid off we can get an extention to Party central or maybe someone will build a stadium on the wharf. what a bunch of Dorks.

I can't believe that the Fire fighters backed this self descrutive move.
I guess the sooner the Wharfies are all laid off we can get an extention to Party central or maybe someone will build a stadium on the wharf. what a bunch of Dorks.

What happens if Tauranga doesnt perform? Where does Maersk go if they have similar issues? I do commend Maersk on acting quickly, makes me want to ensure my 60 containers plus a year are in good hands of people who care for their customers.

Port of Tauranga Wharfies have a different culture. I remember a Auckland wharfy explaining to me how the Tauranga crowd "sold their soul" years back when the Ports were all restructured. Unions are dinosaurs or soon will be if they continue their current practices

ha ha port of tauranga can handle the extra ships , but kiwirail cant there will be delays .
dont be surprised to see maersk back at akl at a better rate, way to bargin thanks union

Union = No jobs, fragmented workforce and business and ultimately customers who do not want to deal with you

Where, is the upside????

Although as the point was made, a few old timers would LOVE redundancy to get a payout - bugger the young blokes, so lets lose some business and get made redundant as I have been a staounch unionist and want just a little more

Look like the union guys who stopped working at Auckland got what they were really asking for .... less work.

Nothing says "I don't really want to work" more than a strike.

It's not like they are loading stinking bags of blood 'n bone by hand any more ... they drive freaking high tech. cranes inside cushy cabs with stereo and air-con .... except the union rep. ones in the office shuffling papers and making sure every one is up with the dues and the social club payments, 'ealth 'n safety BS .... unions, ha what a rort!

This just expedited something that was going to happen anyway - but I thought it would take a few more years.

I'm talking about the downsizing of Auckland's port to Tauranga's better set up.

What will be interesting though is if more trade shifts to Tauranga's port, what will that mean for businesses, will they shift out of Auckland as well to reduce costs...

Whangarei - Marsden Point , and tauranga should be the new giant container terminals for NI NZ. With improved rail to transport hubs in South Auckland. Give the Ak port land back to the ratepayers

You got that one right! Great foresight.

You got that one right! Great foresight.

Just out of interest, what were the circumstances under which Maersk moved operations FROM Port of Tauranga TO Auckland in 2006?

What a benefit for Auckland traffic congestion - no need to have those pesky containers (not to mention grumpy port workers) competing with Auckland commuters on either the rail or road networks to get to downtown and the redundant port workers have to leave town to get a real job at a port where competition in stevedoring renders windfall gains from engaging in union stand-offs minimal. Seems like a win all round!