27 March 2015
Most business people appreciate some of the difficulties faced by carriers in delivering containers around the city. The combination of ever worsening traffic, big rigs trying to negotiate traffic jams and tight spaces, and increased delays at every point in the process makes this a very difficult and unenviable occupation.
The situation is set to get even more difficult from 01 May 2015 when an additional obstacle is added to the process of de-hiring empty containers.
Currently, once a container is unloaded (or “devanned”), the carrier is notified and he collects the empty as soon as practicable, (which may be 2-3 days) and de-hires it at the appropriate container station.
From 01 May, a slot will need to be booked with the de-hire station, possibly adding 2-3 days to the process – the carrier can no longer just turn up as at present. In the event a slot is pre-booked and not used, it is expected that a penalty will be levied, with an additional slot needing to be made.
The various shipping companies offer between 7-10 days “free” starting from the date the container is unloaded from the vessel (and this includes weekends and holidays). Any time beyond this is known as “Detention”, and is subject to $50/$75 per day for a20ft, and twice that for a 40ft box, and substantially more for a specialised unit (reefer box, flat rack).
What does this mean?
There will undoubtedly be additional costs. If we presently handle this function for you, we will continue to endeavour to minimise the costs to you, but the additional time managing and co-ordinating the process will have to be covered (although clients have the option of making their own arrangements if they chose).
The importer – not the Customs broker, the Carrier, or the Port.
How much extra?
Based on what we’ve heard from our colleagues in Australia where this practice has operated for several years, we are guessing that 2-3 days detention could become the norm. We are certain that considerably more time will need to be spent managing the process, but can only guess how much, so:
Additional agency to co-ordinate delivery and de-hire – perhaps ½ hour per box
Detention Charges (perhaps an average of 2-3 days)
Our carriers estimate they will need an additional $25 to $40 per container to meet slot times.
Surely 7-10 days should be enough time to complete the process?
Unfortunately this is often not the case – a large container vessel may discharge 2000-4000 containers at one time. Bearing in mind Auckland’s traffic, each truck may only have time to complete 3-5 deliveries in a day – do the arithmetic. Often, even using 2-3 carriers, it can take several days to get deliveries done, and if there is a weekend in between (especially a long weekend, Easter or Christmas), there are at least two non-productive days (and 4 if two weekends are involved).
The carrier needs to get containers off the wharf and delivered, but is also under pressure to de-hire empties – very much a two edged sword.
It should also be remembered, that the process cannot start until Customs and MPI formalities have been completed, so any delays at this point compound and get very expensive, very quickly.
We’d be pleased to answer any questions:
News added by: Don Malcolm on 27 March 2015