NZ exporters confident of survival despite pandemic

Kendall Hutt
Source: 1News

Kiwi exporters are confident they will weather Covid-19's challenges, thanks to the majority seeing an increase in export orders, an industry survey has revealed. 

A fully stocked cargo ship heading out to sea.

The 2021 ExportNZ DHL Export Barometer surveyed more than 319 exporters, the bulk of which are in manufacturing. 

Although increasing costs, unpredictable transport options and border restrictions have made exporting difficult, Kiwi ingenuity has gone a long way, the survey said.

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents said the cost and availability of transport and logistics was a barrier, 51 per cent said MIQ/border restrictions were one, while 33 per cent felt high costs in New Zealand were.

However, developing new products and services — that Kiwi ingenuity — were exporters saving grace this year, with respondents reflecting they had led to an increase in export sales.

This increase was believed to be indicative of a strong year ahead for 2022.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents had seen an increase in export orders, with 62 per cent of exporters thinking they would climb even higher next year. 

A total of 66 per cent said they had changed the way they work, while just under half — 46 per cent — had developed new products and services.

Selina Deadman, DHL Express's vice president commercial for New Zealand, told Breakfast on Wednesday exporters were "mostly positive and optimistic" heading into 2022, "confident" about their survival and growth. 

She said DHL's network was becoming larger, having increased its air freight capabilities due to increasing demand. 

DHL was operating two flights per day out of the country to Australia to connect to its global network.

The survey noted exporters needed more help from the Government with air cargo, however. 

This was due to congestion at ports and a lack of space on underbellies. 

Eighty-eight per cent of exporters surveyed said logistic costs had climbed for them, 86 per cent had faced delayed transport times and 57 per cent had been unable to get shipping space thanks to freight congestion.