Ports of Auckland Seeks an End to Union Strikes as Fonterra Shifts Trade

Ports of Auckland Ltd. (POA), New Zealand’s biggest, has made a better offer to striking workers after Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. said it will use other ports to export dairy products.

Fonterra (FCG), the world’s largest dairy exporter, will use terminals at Tauranga and Napier from the end of January, costing Auckland about NZ$27 million ($21 million) a week, the port company said in an e-mailed statement. The decision is directly related to the threat of further strikes at the port, Chief Executive Officer Tony Gibson said.

Container handling at Ports of Auckland has been affected by strikes by members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand that began in December as bargaining over a collective wage agreement stalled. A.P. Moller-Maersk said Dec. 6 it was shifting one of its weekly services to Tauranga from Auckland.

“Shippers need certainty and reliable services,” Gibson said. “The loss of Fonterra’s business means action is needed.”

The company has made a “final” offer including a 10 percent increase in hourly wage rates, he said. Further strike action is planned for Jan. 9-11.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net

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