In her first media interview, new Ports of Auckland chair Jan Dawson warns of ongoing global supply chain delays. Photo: Supplied

The new Ports of Auckland chair says it won’t be the port’s fault if shoppers find their choice of Christmas presents don’t arrive in time from overseas. Jan Dawson says the port is on top of the problems that plagued it last year but it is still at the mercy of an international shipping industry in disarray.

Talking to Newsroom Pro managing editor Jonathan Milne on an episode of Newsroom Pro Talks, Jan Dawson says the fact that giant US retailers Walmart and Amazon are chartering their own ships to move goods before Christmas shows the extent of the problem.

Global supply chains

Dawson acknowledges Ports of Auckland was responsible for backlogs last Christmas which saw 11 ships sitting banked up in the Hauraki Gulf. The project to automate the loading and unloading of ships that caused some of the delays has now been paused and Dawson is confident there will be no delays.

On workplace safety

After four deaths at the port in four years, Dawson says workplace safety is being given the highest priority. Tony Gibson, the former chief executive, is currently facing charges over the death of a port worker last August.

Pala’amo Kalati was killed when a container crushed him as he worked a night shift.

Moving the port

Dawson says there is potential for Auckland to work with other major ports like Tauranga, but any decision to move the port from downtown Auckland was a decision for the port’s owner, the Auckland Council. Her personal view is that the other options nearby – The Firth of Thames and Manukau Harbour – present their own difficulties.

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Newsroom Pro Talks is made with the support of Spark.

Newsroom Pro managing editor Jonathan Milne covers business, politics and the economy.

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