SHIPPING

No More Cargo Delays

Faced with delays in the North Island, New Zealand two weeks ago, Maersk brought in two ships to shift containers to South Island ports to meet export demands.
17 Mar 2021 11:00
No More Cargo Delays
Bernard Hong Tiy.

There will be no more delays in the importing and exporting of cargo to and from New Zealand with the engagement of another two Maersk container ships.

Shipping Services Fiji Ltd (SSFL) managing director, Bernard Hong Tiy, said this was good news for Fijians.

SSFL has been engaging Maersk for 15 years now.

Faced with delays in the North Island, New Zealand two weeks ago, Maersk brought in two ships to shift containers to South Island ports to meet export demands.

Despite a call by the New Zealand Maritime Union for the ships to use local resources, the two Maersk ships operated by an entirely foreign crew, with a rotation across five New Zealand ports and two in Fiji.

Mr Hong Tiy said this definitely reduced shipping delays to key markets and helped meet the demand for Fijian exporters.

“Fiji can now buy from five different New Zealand ports,” Mr Hong Tiy said.

“Normally if customers want to buy meat, apples, they will have to talk to someone in Auckland and they will have to bring it to Auckland and ship it here.

“Now our ships are going to South Island to collect what not for Fiji. Our customers can buy directly from South Island. It is vice versa we can send our produce like dalo directly to the South Island without any delays.”

SSFL is proud to help Fiji develop its international trade.

According to Mr Hon Tiy the consistency of container vessels mean Fijians will no longer fear shortage of dry goods like potatoes and onions.

SSFL is the only fully locally owned container shipping agency in Fiji that deals with 121 countries.

Neptune Pacific Line is the vessel operator for their Maersk containers.

Operations 

“When our ships or our containers come in, we are the ones responsible to look after the ship,” he said.

“When our containers come off the ships, we make sure that there are allocated spaces at the port and charges paid. We also make sure cargo is cleared to our customersat the soonest.”

Mr Hong Tiy said before the ship comes in they would let their customers know when their cargo was ready for pick up.

Partnership 

SSFL has been in partnership with Neptune Shipping the last five years.

All this time, Mr Hong Tiy said Neptune had been the agency for the ships that bring in their containers.

“All ships have slots, we have allocation of slots for all our Maersk container vessels,” he said.

“Our ships only go to New Zealand with Auckland and Tauranga as our hubs.”

For containers bound from Asia, African, and Middle East, they all go through either Auckland or Tauranga then to Suva on a weekly basis.

COVID-19 

With COVID-19, Mr Hong Tiy said business has been tough. SSFL employs 60 staff.

“There were lock downs, there was confusion around lockdowns. We had to be as flexible as possible. For us it was a tough year,” he said.

“We are blessed that we did not reduce the pay or layoff some of our staff, but we just had to cut down some expenses in other areas.

“We are still recovering from COVID-19 and it’s a situation that we have to live with going forward.”

Feedback: lusiana.tuimaisala@fijisun.com.fj



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