Skip to main content

The 2021 ExportNZ DHL Export Barometer report is out, and despite the pandemic’s impact, many exporters are optimistic about the year ahead.

Change and disruption feature strongly in New Zealand’s world of trade and export, and this is reflected in the recently released 2021 ExportNZ DHL Export Barometer.

The key findings from the research are as follows:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the way we work with 46 percent of Kiwi exporters having developed new products or services in its wake.
  • Despite all of this, Kiwi exporters are still mostly optimistic with 62 percent expecting international orders to increase, indicating a strong year ahead in 2022.
  • 78 percent of those surveyed, reported cost and availability of transport and logistics as a key issue compared to 66 percent in 2020.   
  • Over half (57 percent) of New Zealand businesses surveyed have experienced being unable to get containers or shipping space to export. This is creating a problem for Kiwi businesses who are struggling to export their goods despite a dramatic increase in orders (59 percent in 2021 compared to 36 percent in 2020).
  • Kiwi exporters have identified new barriers such as the high cost of doing business in New Zealand (33.2 percent) and the high cost of labour (28.2 percent).


Selina Deadman, Vice President Commercial DHL Express NZ, says even without the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kiwi exporters can expect to navigate through a number of barriers in 2022 when entering the global trading environment.

“However, the impact of Covid-19 is reflected in the major barriers faced by exporters today.”

The significant lack of airfreight capacity due to the reduction in commercial flights has meant exporters needed alternative shipping options to export and/or import their goods, Selina adds.

“This led to the increased demand for shipping containers which, with the added crisis of the Suez Canal blockage and new Covid-19 processes implemented, has caused massive shipping backlogs.” DHL Express has been able to limit a lot of these disruptions for Kiwi exporters with its own fleet of aircraft and network of partner airlines, she says.

“The survey results highlighted that 51 percent of Kiwi exporters still recorded an increase in their export orders and were mostly positive and optimistic heading into 2022. This is a statistic that is supported by the strong export shipment growth that we have seen through our network as we kept trade flowing.


How can freight and logistics specialists alleviate the situation?

DHL will continue to play a key role in the recovery of global trade, says Selina, “as this crisis has demonstrated the importance of the logistics industry.

“We continue to invest in our ground infrastructure and fleet to enhance our operations and service levels to support our customers’ businesses and their changing needs. In New Zealand, we recently launched an overnight direct freighter service connecting Melbourne to Auckland and Christchurch, giving us the additional capacity to our existing Auckland to Sydney aircraft to help Kiwi businesses get their goods delivered to the world.


Predictions for 2022

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way people work, not just in New Zealand but worldwide. As a result, traditional office jobs might never be the same again, says Selina.

“In the Barometer 66 percent of Kiwi exporters cited they had changed the way their business works; implementing work from home structures and social distancing practices – thus forcing a greater need for the digital world to keep businesses running,” she says.

Zoom calls, delivering online sales and automation have been the common responses from those Kiwi exporters surveyed, all trying to adapt to the ever-changing global environment, Selina adds. “The pandemic has already helped the e-commerce industry generate ten years’ worth of growth in just a few months and at DHL Express, we expect the boom in e-commerce to continue to gain momentum, as more and more of our customers tap into online sales. 

“The pandemic may have started to present more opportunities which Kiwi exporters only now feel equipped to pursue and DHL continues to be prepared to support this exponential growth.

“With Kiwi innovation emerging from the crisis, 46 percent of those surveyed developed new products or services to increase export orders, a trend that we expect to continue as Kiwi exporters tap into potential opportunities that may have never previously existed.”

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


Dishing up export possibilities

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012

What’s mine is not yours

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012

25 countries… and counting

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012