Our Bella Vita passata and La Rosina cherry tomatoes have just landed—three months late, so we’re really glad to see them! Shipments into New Zealand are currently arriving by camel. What’s happening out there?
Covid-19 is the obvious culprit. People stranded at home have been shopping up big, even as outbreaks cause factory closures and supply chain bottlenecks; Christmas exacerbated that situation.
Blank sailings (carrying empty containers) organized by ocean carriers during the initial phase of Covid to manage capacity have unbalanced container positioning, with empty containers currently rare as hen’s teeth in Asia and Europe.
Strong demand has meant massive congestion in ports in Singapore and across Asia, and shippers are passing delay costs on to importers in the form of steep congestion taxes. Australia has been hit with port strikes. Ports of Auckland staff shortages and an incomplete automation project have ships waiting at anchor there for up to two weeks; some shipping companies are refusing to ship to the region until the situation improves.
As a consequence, when a container finally arrives safely in our yard, we break out the prosecco.
Our Mediterranean suppliers have continued to battle the odds to get product to us, and we’re very grateful for their efforts at a time of considerable suffering.
The shipping situation is expected to start to improve later this year. Until then, we ask for your patience.