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New Zealand exporters with perishable goods heading towards the UK are at risk as their shipments may be delayed by between two to three weeks.

There is the possibility that original shipping documents for UK shipments may be affected by the delay in flights while imports from Europe coming into NZ may be affected as well.

Export New Zealand , a division of Business NZ, says some exporters are not able to get their perishable goods into European markets due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland grounding most air transport into Europe .

Exporters most at risk are those with perishable products such as seafood, flowers, or even high value time-sensitive exports such as high tech products, according to Catherine Beard, Executive Director of Export New Zealand.

“Some exporters are currently being told of delays of two-three, while those with weekly shipments into UK supermarkets have had those consignments halted. There’s also a seafood trade show in Brussels in 10 days time that neither product nor people will be able to attend.

“On the positive side, the majority of New Zealand export volume – such as chilled and frozen meat, dairy and kiwifruit – goes via ship, and airfreight to the Asia Pacific rim is flowing well.

“Export NZ in the Hawkes Bay region reports that much of its seafood which is air freighted is bound for Japan , USA and Australia , and air freighted flowers are mainly bound for Japan .

“However, flight cancellations are affecting business travel, with those bound for Europe on business trips having to cancel meetings.”

She adds that there have also been concerns over the possible non-delivery of original shipping documents to customers in the UK/Europe for sea freight shipments, and the issue of businesses relying on imports by airfreight from Europe.

It is too too early to quantify the cost of the loss of flights into Europe for business, she adds.

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