More Timaru port job losses without plan - union
Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:51p.m.
A transport union fears more jobs losses are imminent if a national ports strategy isn't put in place following the collapse of Timaru's container port.
Global container lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud have announced they would no longer call into Timaru from mid-September and will now steam direct to Napier from Otago.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson says shipping companies have too much power, are not covered under the Commerce Act and a national ports strategy needs to be implemented.
This would involve deciding the specific roles of each port - including which ports would be container ports - to stop a constant reshuffle.
New Zealand ports are mainly owned by Kiwis as they are either wholly or majority owned by local bodies.
Mr Butson says ports are having to fork out large sums of money to invest in infrastructure as part of contract deals with shipping companies.
However, these contracts are often short term which means ports are left out of pocket when the shipping companies eventually move on.
"The result is a boom and bust business cycle for the ports which is no good for working families, the ratepayers in those towns and cities or for New Zealand as a whole," he said.
He says "dozens" of jobs will be axed if this doesn't go ahead.
Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter agrees, adding that New Zealand exporters face increased transport costs without a clear plan in place.
"The job losses at Timaru are the latest sign that the Government's failure to invest in a plan for New Zealand ports is hurting exporters and workers," she said in a statement.
"New Zealand ends up with wasted investments and higher overall export costs, while the foreign-owned shipping companies benefit from lower port fees."
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12/07/2012 11:28:35 a.m.
Ships go where they have container volume. Maeresk and Hamburg Sud will not have cut down the shipping without a reason. Why has the shipping moved?Is it a reduction in container volume? Is it a failure to reach container volumes the shipping companies have required. Eg like a bus service that finds the bus stop has not enough passengers getting on/off may drop a bus stop.It needs to be economic for everyone, not just the port staff. I expect the port efficency still down on Tauranga, but then they dont compete with Tauranga. Any business can work to be more efficient.If the port went back to the shipping companies with a container volume that was economic, the shipping companies would be back.Well run rail is still cheaper than road, just in NZ we have not had well run rail. Typically truck drivers dont strike, vs rail employees that do - this has made road transport more dependable even if more expensive, and that has cut rail volumes till rail has become more expensive than road in many places. If you need to truck to rail, wait for rail, truck from rail, then 1 lot of trucking vs 3 (2x truck, 1x rail) is more timely also. Time is money and rail service in NZ has been poor.
12/07/2012 7:25:50 a.m.
John Kerr wrote:
1. There hasn't been any industrial action at this port2. The rason for the job losses is the fact that ports compete - in competition there are always losers - and the shipping companies take advatange of that3. This has nothjing to do with 'subsidised rail' - the roads are subsidised to the tune of billions while rail, after decades of being run down by the private sector scratches around for a pittance.4. Let's sort out an integrated transport system and a national strategy for ports - any grown up country would
11/07/2012 5:49:47 p.m.
Mike, the port of Timaru uses the "Tauranga" model, and maybe has even a more customer first workforce attitude. Subsidized rail, in my opinion, has bought about this event.
11/07/2012 3:48:51 p.m.
If a port offeres the service and price, work will come. Industrial action disrupts service and costs jobs. More jobs have been lost in NZ through industrial action than have been gained.If a port threatens clients, they will look for alternatives. Eg so much trade lost to Auckland with its union strikes over socialble hours. That disruption cost NZ over $1 billion for a bunch of discriminating unionists who didn't give a damn about NZ or anyone depending on the port. Tauranga is also union labour but they have worked with the port and clients to improve efficiency, service, and price - which makes Tauranga the most efficient port in NZ. which does Timaru use as a role model? The Auckland industrial action costing clients of the port heavily in the pocket? Or Tauranga which works with the port to the benefit of its clients? Both are union labour, but working together is much better for the union members, the ports, and everyone depending on the ports.
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