Maersk Line marks 20th anniversary of NZ calls

Gerard Morrison.

The shipping company, which has been a long-time supporter for the red meat sector and the Red Meat Sector Conference, marked the 20th anniversary of its first vessel calling into New Zealand earlier this year. MeatExportNZ caught up with Maersk Line Oceania managing director Gerard Morrison.

“The red meat sector is a significant contributor to the success and growth of New Zealand’s export trade,” remarks Gerard Morrison, managing director of Maersk Line Oceania, who says the close partnership with the sector is crucial to the shipper.

“Not only does it allow us greater insight into the challenges the sector faces but, more importantly, it also gives us an understanding of the opportunities and innovation coming through the industry.”

Close ties with the sector means Maersk can have more focused and beneficial discussions with red meat customers, says Morrison. “It enables us to match what we are doing in the trade and combined with our latest container and shipping technology innovations, meet the needs of the red meat sector.”

At the end of the annual export peak season for agricultural products, Maersk has seen a good performance this year across all sectors, though slightly lower meat volumes this year, he notes.

“What’s interesting to note is that export demand seems to have moved away from traditional markets like the UK and Europe, to a number of fast-growing Asian markets.

From a shipping perspective, New Zealand meat exporters have plenty of options to meet the growing demand thanks to a wide network coverage which grants fast and reliable access to the entire Asian region, says Morrison.

“That said, it is important that we do not become complacent and ensure that New Zealand remains competitive in the Asian marketplace.

“We need to continually work closely with our customers and supply chain partners to ensure supply chain efficiency which will help keep costs down.”

With three weekly services to Asia for its customers, Maersk Line keeps a strong focus on cost leadership, which includes ensuring efficiency throughout the supply chain.

The shipper has recovered from the recent disruption to its service, because of the recent global computer hacking affecting many companies around the world, and has worked closely with New Zealand Customs to clear customs manifests. “They have been very accommodating and patient with us to ensure speedy load, discharge and release of cargo,” says Morrison.

“We’ve been very appreciative of the level of new bookings we’ve seen in past weeks.

“It’s a testament to the patience and trust we have felt from our New Zealand customers and business partners during this challenging situation. We have been truly heartened by the support from scores of customers offering us phone lines, internet connections and office space,” he says, adding the company will continue to do everything it can to protect itself and customers through creating robust and safe systems and processes.

Transport and logistics is in the midst of a digital transformation, he says. “It’s the key not only to improved customer experience but also to further reduce operating costs.”

Maersk has an ambition to lead in this area by partnering with some of the best and most innovative digital companies in the world, says Morrison.

“Our physical assets and knowledge of operating them is a core strength. We will never be a purely digital platform, but with data comes an enormous advantage for optimising our assets, operations and enterprise – and for providing products and services no one else can.

“With digital, size truly matters. If you have two ships, you only have so much data. If you operate 600+ ships, you’ve got data to apply on a completely different scale.”

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