08 November 2020

Service Announcement | New Zealand Domestic Freight Volumes

As we head towards the Christmas period, we are witnessing a significant increase in freight volume across our network.  In most cases, this is nothing new as we traditionally provide extended services and resources to manage this peak.
 
However this year, volume has been exaggerated by the unique challenges brought on by COVID-19.  We are seeing signs of a compressed Christmas period emerging.  Normally volumes start to build in early September, increasing up to Christmas as stock arrives from around the world. This year, the period has shortened significantly as manufacturing, shipping and air services have altered.  These global dynamics are contributing to network pressures, including:

Coastal Shipping Schedules have been Disrupted

Slots for international vessels take priority at Ports of Auckland which means the weekly NZ coastal sailing is out of sync, leading to more freight being converted onto road and rail to reduce the extended transit times.

NZ Domestic Product Increase

With the delay in stock arriving into the country from international suppliers there has been an increase in domestic freight, with products being sourced locally as “next best” alternatives. This has created volume surges when overseas stock becomes available or arrives late, adding to the congestion – in road, rail and sea services which only have a finite capacity.

Stock Purchasing Pattern

The extended delay for imported products has also seen an increase in the quantities of stock arriving, as importers aim to hold more product in NZ.

Warehouse Services

A flow-on effect of the increase in import volume, has been the arrival of larger than normal batches of containers to our warehouses, creating significant pressure.  We have also seen service levels within each warehouse affected as stock becomes more urgent, due to the upstream delays in the supply chain. Our teams are working extended hours to manage this situation to the best of their ability. We ask for customers’ support through timeliness of order placement and extended picking and transit tolerances.
 
What is now important is that we all work together to collectively manage these unique challenges, starting with adjusting service expectations. 
 
We ask you to consider the following when sending freight:
  • Book Early – When we receive consignment note uploads and freight early in the day, we can plan more effectively and improve segregation, line-haul capacity, etc
  • Transit Expectations – Where possible, please communicate with your customers around when they need product.  While we aim to get consignments to receivers in line with expectations, there will be delayed shipments and there will be delayed notification with our regional teams helping out in our operations
  • Urgent Shipments – Please advise urgent consignments through to our Customer Services team. They can provide available service options and tracking  
We appreciate that this is a unique and testing time for all businesses. We believe working openly with our customers and starting with honest communication will make all the difference.
 

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