Union wants all ports nationalised


If you are looking for productivity improvements the very last people you would ask for advice would be unions:

A national port strategy bringing all the country’s ports under central public ownership would allow the industry to deal with foreign-owned shipping companies from a position of strength, a union boss has said.

After MUNZ set about destroying Ports of Auckland in the interests of preserving the status quo the very last people we should listen to is unions who talk about nationalising ports. It is hugely ironic that the port with the least union involvement is also the most profitable and efficient.

Perhaps the union idea has some merit if Ports of Tauranga is allowed to implement their methodologies across all ports….somehow I think the union would oppose that violently.


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  • Blokeintakapuna

    Totally agree Mr. WO.

    Unions – the parasitic disease posing as the cure.

  • ConwayCaptain

    SWhat is needed is a polic that gets rid of all these over capitalised under used ports such as Bluuf, Timaru etc and get NZ to have TWO major container terminals, one in the SI and one in the NI.  Cargo from the minor ports would be sent to the Major Terminals using coastal feeder ships which are the most economical a fast way to do it.

    The feeder ships can have their own 40 Tonne SWL cranes so no need for expensive conaine cranes.

    The NI Terminal would be an amalgamation of Marsden Point, POAL and TGA and could be the Hauraki port Company.  Akl would handle the imports and maybe small amount of exports.  TGA would be an export port for logs, steel contaibners and Marsden would handle logs, imports and oil.

    Rail Link from Akl to Marsden and a decent Far North rail system to move the logs down to Marsden Point.  3 dep water ports.

    Smaller Ports could handle Break Bulk and reefer ships and loggers etc.

    • le sphincter

      the problem is that the overseas shipping companies are legally allowed to act as a cartel and Maersk is raping the country ( as the British shipping companies did before them)

      Whangarei to Bluff is same distance as  Melbourne to Brisbane

      Timaru  can take 53k dwt and has modest container facilities ( 460m berth ) along with bulk grains,  fuels etc.  certainly viable.

    • Neil

      Sounds perfactly logical and reasable to me CC….well thought out – now how do we get that to actually happen when they all compete against each other on pricing?

      • ConwayCaptain

        Maybe get P&O Ports or Maersk to come in and run the ports on a retainer???

    • Roger

      To be efficient you will need container handling facilities at the smaller ports to ensure they can provide a coastal feeder service. So you will still need container capable ports.

      However, the argument that NZ needs only two major container terminals is specious. For 100 years in NZ the ships come to the cargo not the other way around. Moving the ship is cheaper than moving the cargo on NZ’s  antiquated and low productivity roads and railroad. The reason Timaru is struggling with making containers viable at the moment is because of the low rates offered to Fonterra by the massively state subsidised railway to move the cargo away from Timaru to Lyttelton. Now watch the screams as KiwiRail raises prices to Fonterra now the port choice of Timaru has been removed. This is amateur hour from Fonterra. What Fonterra saw was them exercising their market power by moving the cargo from the Timaru dairy factory, Clandeboye, against the prevailing wisdom and flow, to Lyttelton. Once the dust settles this market power will become a dependency to a state run inefficent monopoly – KiwiRail. It did not need to be this way. 

      Given the relative economics across the supply chain, Timaru port could charge nothing for the stevedoring service and Maersk would still not call there if Fonterra send the cargo to Lyttelton. Fonterra should be ensuring Timaru as a port remains viable – small maybe, but viable. Fonterra understod this once. Keeping a third viable port on the East coast of the SI preserved options and also kept a lid on pricing by both Lyttelton port and the rail. For some reason someone at Fonterra has lost the file – the result will be a wealth transfer from Fonterra farmers to Lyttelton port and unviable KiwiRail. 

    • bruce from taihape

      what a load of shit conway ,maybe back in 1950,we have a major increase in export goods no room and the comment of feeder ships with there own 40 tonne cranes.for fucks sake they would be there all month getting the goods loaded..If you want to live in the past keep fine but do not bring the rest of us with you,,take sleeping pills and fuck off

      • ConwayCaptain

        I think I know a bit more about ships than some one in the GumBoot throwing capital of NZ.

      • Lion_ess

        What a cunt of a comment!

  • le sphincter

    So we just let Maersk just pick  the ports off one by one !
    Once Timaru is closed they will play Otago off against Lyttleton like they are playing  Auckland  against Tauranga.

    They cant play the same game in Australia due to the size of Sydney and Melbourne  so the aussie ports get much higher  rates  for unloading each box

  • tarkwin

    A new episode of walking with dinosaurs.

  • unitedtribes

    Just what has happened in Auckland? Have the Unions won? or is it not yet the end?

    • le sphincter

      a Glorious victory, thanks for asking

  • Neil

    So now I agree with le Spink….. I can’t understand why we as a tiny country have wharves competing against each other for overseas ships berthing. 

    The only ones that win in that scenario seems to be the shipping companies.  I’m not sure about nationalising being a solution but surely some form of pricing structure would be a benefit. 

    Tauranga versus Auckland for New Zealand companies is surely more road transport cost – an internal cost to the country.

    • Roger

       This is a transport and cargo issue not a port issue. Fonterra will be savaged by this in time yet they put the game in play.

    • Notrotsky

      You’d think the ports could merge and ass rape the respective shipping companies into submission – too many egos,unions and councils involved for that to happen though.

      • gazzaw

        The alternative port to Auckland, Lyttelton and Tauranga is Brisbane which both Maesk & Sud Hamburg are quite happy to use as their regional hub. Those lines do not need to call here & it will be over to NZ interests to organise feeder services to Brisbane. That would not be a great way to go with NZ exports totally dependent on Australian ports. Kiwirail is due to play a big role in the port restructuring, we are seeing it already with the rapid development of inland ‘ports’, new rolling stock and a raft of efficiency initiatives. I am sure that we will see Kiwirail developed into an MOM with shareholdings by interested parties such as Fonterra, Solid Energy, Mainfreight & the designated export ports.

        • bruce from taihape

          those lines do not need to call here…wake up you fucking idiot

      • Roger

        That would be a good outcome for ports. However the constraints to international trade are not port costs – the port costs in NZ are half what’s charged in Australia.  I’m not sure transhipping via Australia is all bad. Maersk tranships NZ cargoes now at Tanjan Palepas (heard of it?). Making Kiwirail a MOM with that group of shareholders would be disastrous – talk about diverse interests. The issue for exporters in NZ is having access to low costs from gate to plate. A few ports and rail run by a disparate group of large rail users will not assist that. Quite the opposite. To keep rail costs and service in check NZ needs an efficient coastal trade – the existing shipping lines could do it – if the labour laws were amended to facilitate more time on the coast. 

  • ConwayCaptain

    The Shipping Corp was formed so that NZ could have a say in the freight of goods overseas.

    Maersk is MANY MANY times bigger than the old conference lines and if theyy walked away there i nothing NZ coulod do.

    What is need is a merger of PoA, M Point and TGA

    • gazzaw

      Agree 100% CC!!

  • Johnbronkhorst

    In MUNZ “election 2011 document on MUNZ web site, prior to the election. Under Goals and conclusion.”KiwiPort• The Maritime Union has advocated the establishment of a KiwiPort policy. This would bring all ports in New Zealand under joint local community ownership and national public ownership, and develop a national ports strategy under the guidance of national Government and the input of stakeholders. Protocols and systems to ensure ports work together rather than against each other in destructive competition would be introduced.””The Maritime Union recognizes the importance of not relying on achieving its goals simply through parliamentary methods, and will continue to use industrial tactics and community campaigns to further the interests of the majority, the working class.”

    • Johnbronkhorst

      dangerous and anti democratic!!!!!!

  • Mediaan

    OK, I am a beginner, struggling to understand.

    Looking around, at general opinion worldwide, it seems we need

    1. Ports capable of handling much bigger ships and volumes. This is the way shipping is heading. Not up to 5000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units, think “one container”), as now. At least 7000 TEU, and probably up to 10,000 TEU.

    2. At least two good ports on the west coast, handy for ships also calling at Australia.

    3. Less power held by Maersk, who doubtless have their own agenda and could screw us.

    4. Better coastal trade, which could be used by all the lesser ports that wanted it.

    5. Very good rail and or road links to our two newly-enhanced west coast ports. Get that rail corridor better used, is my suggestion, with more tracks side by side. Competition for KiwiRail. Purpose-built super highways.

    • Roger

      Big ships are going the way of the A380 since the GFC. Too big for this market – exporters don’t like the tradeoff between service frequency and costs. Big ship operating slowly to a few global ports vs medium sized ships calling at many different destinations. 

      Big ships have low operating cost per container if fully loaded – ugly if half full. 

      West Coast ports are New Plymouth and Nelson. Fonterra rails all its Taranaki production from its site at Hawera to Napier and Auckland (yes New Plymouth is only 100km away). Hence container ships no longer call at New Plymouth. There is no rail connection to Nelson and it really only exports local product – mainly wood based and apples – there is no dairy in that region. 

      West Coast ports are exposed to SW wind and swells – not a good mixture. 

      Agree re better coastal trade. International ships should be free to carry export cargo around the coast without labour restrictions. That will provide competition for the state run railway.