Global shipping giant Maersk’s decision to pull its dedicated New Zealand coastal service has raised concerns for the country’s supply chain security. After less than a year of operation, Maersk will withdraw its Coastal Connect service next month, impacting around 60 local staff. Instead, the company will upgrade its trans-Tasman Polaris service to a weekly service. However, the Maritime Union says this move is a step backward for New Zealand’s supply chain security, and the country’s importers and exporters will be affected. The sudden withdrawal of the Coastal Connect service shows the volatility and insecurity of New Zealand’s supply chain, says the union’s National Secretary Craig Harrison. He adds that the market’s continual volatility is bad for the country’s economy. Meanwhile, the union’s Auckland branch secretary, Russell Mayn, believes the cost of putting goods through an Australian port is higher than a New Zealand port, so costs may go up as a result of the changes.
However, Maersk argues that the changes will enhance New Zealand’s supply chains by providing improved flexible services and better connections to overseas markets. The company spokesperson added that the key driver for the change is not cost-cutting but improving supply chain stability for customers while offering more flexible network solutions. Maersk says it will work with unions to provide alternative employment opportunities.