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+64 9 275 3007


May 2017.

Auckland Container Cartage


Anyone who regularly commutes within Auckland will be painfully aware that we live in an ever worsening state of almost constant gridlock.

Trips that once took 20-30 minutes now typically take an hour, and that is assuming there are no “problems”, which then frequently adds another 30-60 minutes.

What does this mean for trucks operating within the extended confines of greater Auckland?

There was a time when container trucks could comfortably handle 8-10 jobs each day, and where a reasonable amount of accuracy regards delivery times could be predicted and committed to.

More recently, traffic delays, exacerbated by increasing delays at container stations and the Port, this number has been reduced substantially, with 6-8 being a “good day”, and 4-6 being the newly accepted norm.

Carriers now also have to commit to “slot times” to uplift or de-hire containers, and any deviation of these times comes with a financial penalty the carrier has to absorb.

As a consequence, any predictions regards delivery time really are like lotto, often based more on optimism than reality. The days of “dropping everything and making it happen” are a fond but distant memory.

There are other factors effecting the cartage industry that is starting to have a significant impact on our economy as a whole:

  1. The average age of truck drivers is increasing as “traditional trainers of drivers” are no longer around. In the “old days”, the Post Office, Ministry of Works, Railways, Army, AEPB and others all trained drivers – few of these organisations are around anymore. It is now common place to see drivers in their 50s & 60s, but they are dying off – sad but true

  2. It costs a considerable amount now to get a driver qualified (upwards of $5000) – few individuals can afford this, few companies want to commit to the outlay.


  3. There are apparently about 800 jobs for Drivers currently advertised in Auckland


  4. The cost of trucks – it is virtually impossible to make a truck pay for the first 2-3 years of its life, until such a time as its depreciated value falls into line with what it can earn. Hopefully the owner driver (or company) does not go broke in the meantime. A new swing lift costs between $400-500,000. Allowing for finance, fuel and maintenance, depreciation and a driver to work 60-80 hours a week, the truck needs to earn $6500-$7500 per week before it starts to break even – a tough ask.


  5. Cost – you get what you pay for – clients on a “super cheap” container rate should enjoy the moment, it will not last. Be assured that you will get what you pay for, and in reality, as carriers prioritise which containers to deliver, clients should be considering paying an extra $50-100 to get priority – cheap in the long run.


  6. Be prepared for extra costs – each time the carrier (or perhaps us) has to change arrangements, alter bookings or amend paperwork, additional costs will apply.


  7. Detention, demurrage, storage outside the control of the carrier remain firmly the responsibility of the client – unfortunately, these factors are becoming increasing prevalent. Traditionally some clients have shoved these back onto Carriers, Customs brokers, and other than the rare exception, this is unwarranted.

Before beginning a relationship, we endeavour to establish what each client specifically needs and wants. To achieve this, we deal with several reputable carriers (all of very long standing) who offer what we believe to be the right mix of competitive rate and level of service, but are always open to new ideas.


I’d be pleased to discuss this matter further at any time.



Don Malcolm

021 924 114

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