Update to Shipping Lines and Shipping Agents
3: 25 March 2020
The current situation:
Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and will move to Alert Level 4 at
23:59 today. After this all except essential businesses will close.
of Auckland is an essential business and so are all the businesses we work
with. This includes all trucking companies, stevedores, contractors and so on.
have reorganised our business so that staff who need to be here to keep the
port operating can be here and be safe. Staff who can do their jobs from home will
now work from home to reduce the risk of infection getting into the port.
means the way you interact with some of our functions, like customer services,
will change. More detail will be provided later today. We are operating with
fewer staff from now on, this is unavoidable. But we will prioritise the
movement of freight through our operational teams and we will keep the port
What you can do:
need a huge effort from all parts of the supply chain to help to keep the port
open. It’s vital that everybody knows how to protect themselves from infection
and that anyone who is sick or who has travelled in the past 14 days should not
come to the port. These simple steps will help us help you.
prime objective is to ensure the well-being of our staff so we can continue to
keep the port open and operating efficiently. To achieve this objective and
keep cargo flowing, there are several changes we need to implement now.
have opened up extra capacity at the northern part of the Terminal now that we
have suspended Go Live for Automation.
We are uncertain of
the import volumes or volume demands over the next few weeks and the potential
for inbound containers to have no home to go to as they may be deemed
need to keep this freight moving so we intend to take a firm stance on
maintaining standard free time periods for import and export containers. We urge
all importers and forwarders to find alternative arrangements to move
non-essential import containers off port.
need to reduce the number of empty containers in the On-Dock Link facility to
manage yard space for import and export containers. We will cease the
acceptance of import empty returns to the Link from 1700 hours Monday 30th
March 2020 and ask that Lines redirect import units to external empty
depots. When planning empties to load to vessels, units already in Link are to
be prioritised for empty evacuation.
Operations – A number of stevedores can no longer
come to work due to the increased alert levels and government recommendations.
As we move to Alert Level 4 it is inevitable there will be further impacts. We
have for some time operated with the stevedoring workforce in teams and we will
have these teams operating from separate on-port facilities with high level
hygiene controls from 0630 Thursday 26th to limit any possible cross-infection.
of the increased hygiene controls, shift changeovers will take a little longer
as the facilities need to be cleaned before the new shift arrive. This might
slow operations a little, but if a colleague becomes infected it will limit the
spread in the organisation and protect our ability to work.
Operations – we have been working to tight
controls since late January and the team are being closely monitored as well.
Some of the team are under self-isolation, which is making ship movements more
difficult, but we are coping. We are not always able to handle multiple ship
movements at the same time and need to stage the operations differently. Our
Marine team are working closely with Terminal Operations and Multi-Cargo to
ensure vessel delays are kept to a minimum.
staff wellbeing is our priority and it is being managed very closely and are
doing all we can to ensure our staff remain healthy and able to attend work.
Cargo Cut Offs; Export Empties; Hazardous Cargoes
ensure that we can better manage demand whilst balancing yard utilisation and staff
resourcing, we need to put in place tighter controls related to cargo cut offs
and forecasting of more accurate and timely container exchange information.
We are continuing to
operate under our berth window procedures and proforma berth windows. Each Terminal
service has a window size based on proforma move count and our Berthage
Managers work with services and Vessel Operators to maximise the number of
moves based on schedule and current labour and yard conditions. We wish to
maintain the berth windows for as long as we can as this provides some
certainty to Lines for schedule and onward planning.
As Yard and Labour capacity become constrained then moves will either be reduced and/or we will suspend the berth windows.
To get a better feel for the demand we must implement more vigilant controls related to forecasted exchange sizes and cargo cut offs. If Yard space and labour supply become constrained, then knowing what we should realistically prepare for will help us to better manage our resource.
Therefore we will implement the following at Fergusson Container Terminal from next Wednesday 1st April 2020:
- All vessel cut offs to be set at 24 hours before the vessel arrival.
- POAL will manage late cargo requests only via the vessel operator (VOP). The standard late gate process will apply as we have in place today, these requests need to be exceptions.
- We will require the VOP to coordinate across VSA partners 72 hours before vessel arrival (48 hours before cut off) the final container exchange for the vessel call. This must include an accurate discharge/load profile with specific focus also on empty load numbers.
- We would request 7-10 days and no later than 5 days before vessels arrival updated Container Booking Forecasts (CBF's) of the expected exchange.
- Export empties will be managed into the Container Terminal for specific vessels against agreed delivery schedules coordinated via the external Empty Container Depots and your nominated Empty Carriers. Today we work to a process whereby the Empty Carrier will provide a forecasted demand for the next 24 hours each day by 1300 hours (for Monday deliveries this is done by 1300 Friday) and our Gate Ops team confirm slots to those Carriers by 1500 that same day for the following day. This does require your Logistics teams to work closely with Vessel Ops and Container Depots to ensure the volume demands are aligned with what you can load to a vessel based on your CBF's and final load figures. We do not want the terminal filling with empties that cannot be loaded due to a changing operating environment.
- Hazardous Import containers. We have a genuine concern that due to the increase in controls we will experience import DG cargo that cannot be delivered into market due to non-essential status. We ask that All Lines please validate with your Shippers and importers that when booking hazardous containers for destination Auckland that the importer has confirmed their ability to take delivery of the containers when arriving. We cannot have a situation whereby we become jammed with import hazardous containers that exceed our allowable storage license and constrain our operations. Our Customer Services team will reach out to your import teams seeking assistance if we identify long dwelling units and we would appreciate your assistance in ensuring these are cleared and moved as soon as possible.
VBS and VBS Slots for ‘essential’ cargoes
The total number of VBS
slots released daily will remain the same at this stage. However, the timeframe
for slots released in advance will be reduced from 9 to 5 days for Imports and
4 days for Exports. We will start adjusting the release times within the next
This will allow us to
manage any potential factors, such as vessel schedule changes, staff resourcing
constraints and yard capacity, all which can have an impact on our operations
and the flow of containers.
Carriers can email our
Gate Ops team if any priority slots are required. Priority will be given to Dangerous
Goods; Active Reefer containers and we will be establishing a process for
requesting priority VBS slots for any ‘essential’ medical or food supplies
which we will be confirming separately over the next few days.
Import and Export cargo free time and storage at port:
We have received many
enquiries in recent days asking for our position on providing storage for
non-essential import cargo.
Our position is very clear:
We need keep all freight moving so we can keep the port running and get
essential cargo through.
message to the Logistics industry is ‘keep coming to the port to pick up your
freight’, even if it’s not considered ‘essential’ right now.
We need all freight to keep moving to ensure that essential goods can also get through.
For that reason, we must
maintain our standard import free time of 3 days from day of cargo discharge as
well as the standard free time for export cargoes of 5 days prior to the vessel’s
arrival. At the Fergusson Container Terminal, the export cargo cut off is being
brought forward to 24 hours before the vessel’s arrival.
take our role as critical lifeline infrastructure seriously. We remain focused
on ensuring vital supplies can get through and ensuring we support your
businesses, the community and New Zealand as we navigate this unprecedented
hope this update is useful. I will provide further updates as the situation
in touch. Tell us what’s happening in your business to help us plan more
effectively how we can support you.