Having trouble getting your hands on bottles of Graham Norton and Sarah Jessica Parker’s wine brands? The desperate founders of Invivo, the New Zealand company that creates the ranges, staged a sea protest before Christmas to highlight the supply issues they are facing.
Heavily congested ports in Auckland – and in other ports around New Zealand – have been causing shipping delays since October. The delays have now become a serious issue for both imports and exports in what has already been a tough 12 months for many New Zealand businesses.
Over the last six years, Invivo has sold 10 million bottles of Norton’s range of wines, while the Invivo X SJP range had sold more than 500,000 bottles in the US alone in the last 12 months.
Invivo’s Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron (above) took a dinghy out to meet cargo ship Seaspan Fraser, which is currently anchored in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, to highlight the issue.
Invivo has been waiting since before Christmas for seven containers of its new Graham Norton rose prosecco from Italy to be unloaded. It also has a backlog of 14 containers of wine waiting to head overseas.
“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,” Cameron said. “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 US – 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.”
Among the reasons for the backlog are a COVID-19 related delay in a major automation project at the Ports of Auckland, a staff shortage at the port, and a 20-25% increase in demand for consumer goods.