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Oceanbridge Shipping – partnering to protect


02 February 2022

Six weeks out from New Zealand hosting the 49ER and Nacra sailing world championships in 2019, Pledge member Oceanbridge Shipping faced a significant challenge with packing and shipping the event yachts from Tokyo to Auckland.

The start of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) season in Japan was due to coincide with the planned packing of 35, 40-foot containers over several days. When notice came that no fumigation facilities or operators would be available, Oceanbridge knew that posed a major risk to the event. Taking a collaborative approach and acting early became a key part of their strategy to manage the risk.

Working closely with Biosecurity New Zealand, and event organiser Yachting New Zealand, they developed a new plan and protocols to ensure any risk was reduced prior to the containers arriving at the New Zealand border.

From the outset, Oceanbridge wanted to make sure teams were aware of what they needed to do to meet the new requirements and avoid any biosecurity breeches or disruptions to the event. Shipping instructions were sent out early, clearly outlining the need for date stamped photos of the boats and containers, capturing each stage of the cleaning, and packing process. The New Zealand sailors embraced the plan and played a pivotal role in helping other teams reach compliance.

“They understand the value of good biosecurity and were strong advocates on the ground in Japan” said Oceanbridge Customs Manager Stephen Pipes.

49ER/Nacra 2019 sailing world championship in Auckland

Yachting New Zealand and Oceanbridge have a longstanding partnership spanning 20 years. Stephen said the Oceanbridge philosophy is to build strong relationships with their customers, agents and suppliers and they see themselves as educators and advisors on all regulatory matters including biosecurity.

Good biosecurity is about more than just compliance, it’s also about responsibility and the strength of working together. Oceanbridge was proactive in engaging with other freight forwarders to ensure the same protocols and processes were followed for all yachts being shipped from Tokyo to Auckland.

Almost 1,000 people were directly involved in the event including over 200 boats, and 400 of the world’s best sailors, arriving from different parts of the globe. The 35 containers Biosecurity New Zealand examined from Japan contained over 15,500 items of cargo and were the most compliant containers of the event with no BMSB detected.

“Everyone who travelled from Japan was 100% on board and happy to comply because they knew the rules early,” said Stephen.

The success of the project contributed to the smooth running of the event which delivered economic benefits to Auckland, estimated at several million dollars. As a result, New Zealand’s reputation as a leading host of major international events was secured.