Global supply chain issues felt in dog’s dish and the bathroom

Karen Coltman



Stuff NZ Newspapers


New Zealand supermarket shoppers are still facing gaps on shelves, as supply chain disruptions around the world alter the flow of goods to our shores. The global Covid-19 pandemic is causing a ‘‘stop-start’’ flow of imports, commentators say, as container ships wait to come in or operations slow down due to sporadic lockdowns, staff illness or selfisolation reignited by the Omicron variant. In New Zealand, stocks of pet food, canned milk, oil and canned tomato and pineapple are patchy. Limits on packets of toilet rolls, flour and pet food were understood to be in place at an increasing number of supermarkets this week. Nestle evaporated milk has been unavailable at a handful of supermarkets for several weeks. There are customer limits on some Simon Munt Lyttelton Port Company container operations generalmanager brands of cat food. New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers’ Association secretary Richard Brake said a reason for the shortage of pet food was that some ingredients were imported and not getting here fast enough. He said some products were ordered from America where there was a backlog of goods containers at ports. ‘‘The delays of goods getting out of China and to America and then on to us are showing now because some ingredients of a canned product are shipped here from the US where there are containers sitting at the ports and in particular at Los Angeles,’’ Brake said. ‘‘Following the first Covid-19 lockdown, demand for goods was expected to reduce but the opposite happened and the ports can’t keep up with demand and this is a global supply chain issue.’’ Brake said another reason for cat food being out of stock from time to time was the lockdown caused a surge in the number of people getting new pets. Nestle, the maker of Purina pet food, confirmed it had been a ‘‘real juggle’’ to keep pet food supplies coming here when demand was high. A spokeswoman said pressure increased when another company had a recall issue with its pet food. ‘‘It is a race against the shelf sometimes, and we rely on American production for some tinned products and this has caused delay, but we are on top of it currently.’’ She said there was a time last year when the container backlog was so great in America that some container ships loaded with various products didn’t make it to New Zealand at all. Lyttelton Port Company container operations general manager Simon Munt said it managed a record number of containers last year. ‘‘In a number of months in 2021 the all-time record of containers through the port was broken again and again. ‘‘This is a result of the sheer increase in demand in imports and exports, as well as some moves towards more hubbing of cargo in New Zealand.’’ Munt said vessel arrivals were unpredictable due to delays elsewhere in the supply chain. To cope with the increased volumes and unpredictability of ship arrivals, Ports of Auckland is now operating 24/7.