It's hard to believe that we are heading towards the end of another week, but it has been a better week!
With the assistance of several Lines we have managed to relieve pressure on the berth by only committing a maximum of 3 cranes during day and 2 cranes during night time operations thereby diverting any remaining resource to the road, rail and yard operations to ensure a more consistent flow of containers through the Terminal.
We have also managed to divert a vessel to Multi-cargo to help relieve the yard congestion and whilst unfortunate, another larger import vessel has diverted to Tauranga at the end of this week which will assist the state of the yard over this weekend enabling us to focus again with the Carrier community to keep moving containers out of the port.
Over the last several days we have seen a lift in our average crane rates and yard utilisation is dropping which is a positive sign of congestion reducing and operations improving.
The Carrier community continue to work closely with our Gate Ops team in tightly managing VBS bookings and receivals for specific vessels and we are very grateful for the way in which they are working with us. We will continue with this mode for the next week and review.
If we can maintain this momentum then we would estimate that by middle of next week we will be seriously reviewing reinstatement of the berth windows.
There has been some Shipping Line network changes announced and others in the final stages of sign off, that will change the berth schedule profile over the next several weeks and should offer some further relief to the peaking demand on the Terminal, both for ship side and land side operations. We expect that this will help, and also estimate that by the end of November the import peak will start to drop away.
This last several weeks have been very challenging for everyone, our Customers, our Stakeholders, our staff and we are starting to see the impacts as consumers. It has highlighted the fragility of NZ Inc. Supply chain in general. There is not a lot of redundant capacity available to cater for sustained events such as we have seen, and the ripple effects of the peaking volume, delayed vessel schedules including diversions and re-routing of cargo will now start to impact further up and down the supply chain and create congestion in other areas such as other Ports and hubs, Empty depots and distribution centres.
We are encouraging cargo owners, including Carriers, to proactively engage with Lines regarding container detention periods as this will now start to bite as containers are returned back to depots which we know in the Auckland region are under space pressure.
We are continuing to push ahead with our Automation and Capacity Project which provides for future capacity at the Port, however for the next 12-18 months will mean that we do not have the yard capacity to manage any dramatic change to the peaking demand. We will reach a significant milestone for the project with the arrival next Friday 5th October 2018 of our 3 new STS Gantry Cranes.
The Cranes will be moved onto the new Northern Berth over the following week and there will be a five to six month commissioning process before they start operating with Yard Automation commencing in late 2019.
I will provide a further update early next week.
Thank you once again for your ongoing support.
Best wishes for a happy, safe an relaxing weekend!
General Manager Commercial Relationships