Formal notice has been given to major shipping lines that members of the National Road Carriers (NRC) will “not accept any charges for detention on empty containers” in Auckland.

In a letter issued to carriers on Friday January 13, NRC chief executive David Aitken stated the shipping industry had created a situation in the city “where it is not possible to economically and safely return empty containers in a timely manner”.

“Our members are not able return containers and will be forced to leave them at client’s premises or store them elsewhere,” he stated.

“They will recover these costs from their clients, who may in turn seek recompense from your companies.

“The matter of container control is one that your respective companies take responsibility for and it must have been known that this situation would occur.”

Subsequently, NRC port committee chairperson Chris Carr stated that empty container depots were “full to the brim and then more”.

“Shipping lines have known about this building issue and have in fact allowed it to happen,” he added.

“Containers would normally be evacuated from New Zealand, but this has not occurred through increasing export loadings, which is good for New Zealand and bad for transport operators having to deal with the mess.”