STRIKES at the Port of Auckland are being blamed for the loss of NZ$20 million (US$15.4 million) in annual revenue after its biggest customer Maersk Line diverted one of its services to Tauranga, reports the New Zealand Herald.
It said the loss of Maersk's Southern Star container service amounts to 52 ship calls, or 82,500 containers a year. The report cited the carrier's New Zealand marketing manager Dave Gulik as saying in a separate statement that the industrial action played a role in the decision.
Said Mr Gulik: "The security of their supply chain is of primary importance to our customers, so anything affecting that, or likely to affect that in the future, will come into the equation when we are deciding schedules."
The report said that the Danish shipping line operates the South Star service with Malaysia's MISC Berhad, which has announced its exit the container business in June
However, the shipping line's Northern Star service is expected to continue to call at Auckland. The two star lines link New Zealand to Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas, hubs in Asia.
The report said the lost revenue was equivalent to 11 per cent of the NZ$177 million Ports of Auckland generated in sales in the fiscal year ended June 30. It said earnings declined by 37 per cent.
It added that port authorities have delayed mediation talks with the Maritime Union. The dispute centres around a new collective pay and employment contract for dockers, with more strikes on the horizon ahead of the traditionally busy Christmas season. The strike involved 327 of the ports 500 employees.