New Zealand beverage company Invivo & Co Cofounders Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne have taken a stand and met one of the cargo ships anchored in the Hauraki Gulf head on to highlight the challenges many New Zealand businesses are facing with getting their product to customers both in New Zealand and internationally

Heavily congested ports in Auckland – and in other ports around New Zealand – have been causing shipping delays since October – with the backlog now worsening ahead of the festive period. The delays have now become a serious issue for both imports and exports in what has already been a tough year for many New Zealand businesses. To highlight the issue, Invivo & Co Co-founders, Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne, took to the seas and met one of the cargo ships currently stationed outside the harbours on the Hauraki Golf in a dinghy in protest. Invivo & Co currently have seven containers of Prosecco from Italy waiting to arrive in New Zealand, delayed by weeks. On the exporting side, Invivo has 14 containers of wine – all delayed by weeks – headed to international customers.  Delays and lack of container availability in New Zealand have been cited as reasons for the hold-ups.

The impact of both import and export delays is significant, as  Rob Cameron, Invivo cofounder and winemaker, explains: “It’s been a tough year for so many New Zealand businesses – many of which will be missing out on sales in December, which is a key trading period. Not only do we have customers here in New Zealand waiting for our stock but, also significant, is the impact the delays are having on our export business. The interruptions mean that it’s taking longer for our customers around the world – especially in key markets like the UK and USA – to receive NZ-produced wine, which has many implications in terms of invoicing, cash flow and even reputation when it comes to fulfilling orders with big retailers. Cargo ships leaving New Zealand are booked out months in advance and we think this is an issue that could have been avoided.”

New Zealand become the 3rd largest importer of wine into the US (by value) behind France and Italy. USA is New Zealand’s largest export market for wine with $422 million USD in sales. This is an impressive statistic considering that NZ produces less than 1% of all the world’s wine.

Of the protest today, Invivo & Co Cofounder Tim Lightbourne comments “We are experiencing first-hand the issues the congestion at the ports are causing to our business and we realise that so many other New Zealand businesses must be in a similar position. Today was all about shining a light on an issue that we think needs urgently addressing by the ports.”

Invivo & Co exports around 85% of their wine to key international markets including USA, UK, Ireland, Canada and Japan. They produce Prosecco, Gin and Rosé in Italy, Ireland and France. Invivo have sold 2.49million bottles in six months to September 30 2020.