Export delays causing New Zealand produce to languish on shelves, in cold stores

Some of the country's growers and exporters are worried their produce will be wasted because of continued shipping delays.

Vessels are behind schedule and in some cases skipping New Zealand ports - meaning produce is stuck in warehouses and unable to get to market. 

Seafood destined for overseas restaurants is languishing on the shelf in Nelson.

Doug Paulin from Sealord New Zealand says it's problematic.

"We, like a number of exporters, are having issues getting our frozen products off our boats and into cold stores and out of New Zealand."

Global supply chains are constrained, ports are congested and shipping companies are favouring more profitable routes in the northern hemisphere.

"We've been able to put what we are catching into cold stores across New Zealand. But all of the fishing companies are finding the same things are occurring and those cold stores are rapidly filling up."

Until now - the bigger problem for New Zealand was importing goods.

An Australian Craft Beer Festival has been forced to postpone its Auckland event in July because 200 kegs of beer were stuck in Australia.

Catherine Beard from Export NZ says the delays are putting both importers and exporters in an impossible situation. 

"The whole flow has gone from the supply chain. So they're having to work twice as hard, they have no predictability. The cost impacts are significant."

Onion growers are among those worried about what it means for the thousands of tonnes of produce stuck.

Onions NZ CEO James Kuperus says it could mean a dip in profit.

"We may still get the onions offshore and into the markets but the more market windows we lose or miss, then the less profitable it is as a crop for our growers."

Freight prices are expected to skyrocket further over the next few months due to the demand and exporters are asking the Government for support. 

The Transport Minister says there is no quick fix and urges exporters to continue working with shipping companies.