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The Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF) has called for wide stakeholder consultation to try to resolve significant delays at the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC).
CBAFF president Willie van Heusden said the situation has reached a head with a major cartage company writing to customers this week to inform them they will now be passing on costs incurred through delays at the port.
Mr van Heusden said that the situation at LPC is being felt across New Zealand with transport companies struggling to get goods to market. 
“While the situation at LPC is acute, this is a problem across a number of New Zealand’s ports and highlights the fragility of New Zealand’s infrastructure,” he said. 
“LPC has discussed introducing a vehicle booking system but, while that may help in the short term, it’s not going to solve the problem that the port simply does not have the infrastructure to cope with the increased volumes it is experiencing. 
“Having such costs passed on to the customer is a worrying development and it is likely other transport companies will follow suit. This surcharge means that brokers, freight forwarders or importers will face an unknown quantum of costs that they will have to absorb against margin.
“It is time to look outside the box and consider other options, in the ways the ports of Auckland and Tauranga have, including multi-modal solutions.
“Notwithstanding the considerable problems LPC has faced due to the earthquakes, there has been a long-term lack of investment in the port. One option that has been suggested is an additional inland port with road and rail links.  
“The port has to start actively developing solutions and the first step should be consultation with the wider industry, including the transport and the freight forwardingindustries, to ensure the right decisions are made to get the supply chain in New Zealand moving freely.”
Glenn Baker

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


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