Auckland port delays prompt dinghy protest for wine

Retailers across the country are struggling to get enough stock for their Christmas shoppers, as the delays at the Ports of Auckland continue.

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Rob Cameron takes his message direct to the container ship stuck at sea with his wine.
Photo: Invivo Wines

A backlog of stock is still at sea or stuck on the wharf, and could not be worse timing as the country enters its busiest retail period of the year.

It has prompted one businessman to go to sea today to try to find his missing wine.

The problem is widespread, with retailers from all over New Zealand feeling the effects from the delay.

Invivo wines co-founder Rob Cameron said seven containers of their rosé prosecco was still sitting on a ship, and would not be on shelves anytime soon.

“Essentially, we’re losing out on a substantial amount of our Christmas sales and logistically it puts our supply chain under huge pressure without our stocks and that’s a really challenging situation to be in for anybody selling goods.”

With the goods not coming to them, he and his co-founder tried to track them down – boarding a small dinghy with a placard reading “where’s our wine”.

“We just wanted to have a bit of fun to say ‘where’s our wine’, to find the container ship in a bit of a hope that it might be there and it turns out it was.”

Sarah Jessica Parker discussing the blend of her wine with Invivo co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron.

Rob Cameron, centre, is pictured with actress Sarah Jessica Parker. (file pic)
Photo: Invivo Wines

There’s now an average delay at the ports of eight to nine days.

Retail New Zealand chief executive Greg Harford said there were significant shortages of stock throughout the entire retail sector.

“Retailers are getting very frustrated by the delays and the lack of really solid information about what’s causing these issues.

“We know there’s less freight coming into New Zealand, we know it’s taking a long time to get things off the ships at the ports, and that’s terrible timing given that we’re so close to Christmas.”

Retail NZ spokesman Greg Harford

Greg Harford: “We know there’s less freight coming into New Zealand.”
Photo: Supplied

Briscoes and Rebel Sport are two retailers facing shortages. Briscoes Group managing director Rodney Duke said the problem had been going on for months, and while the situation isn’t critical, it is inconvenient.

“It’s never a good time to be running a little short in some products in the run-up to Christmas, our busiest time, but we’ve still got stock, we’re just out of some colours or sizes basically.”

Julie is the owner and manager of Health Essence Sylvia Park. She too has been hit by delays, and hopes the log jam is sorted sooner rather than later.

“We have noticed it a little bit. And of course there are some products the people have asked for which are their favourite products and they might not be in stock, so that’s disappointing. But it has caused some problems and certainly some delays.”

The clogged ports are also impacting exports. Cameron said they will be feeling the effects long after Christmas.

“This disruption is holding up goods going out. We have 14 containers we’re trying to export from Nelson and we can’t get the empty containers because the goods aren’t flowing through from Auckland.

“So we’re missing out on Christmas sales but then for our goods going to the UK, we’re missing out on Easter sales, and further promotional periods.”

The log jam at the ports could continue for months.

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