Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Biosecurity check failures cost freight company

An Auckland international freighting company and manager have together been fined over $28,000 for failing to do biosecurity checks and transporting 15 sea containers to unapproved locations for unpacking.

Under the Biosecurity Act, all sea containers arriving in New Zealand must be sent from the port of first arrival to a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Approved Transitional Facility (ATF) for inspection and unpacking.

Auslink International New Zealand Limited and logistics manager, Christopher James Manning, 68, were sentenced in the Manukau District Court on eight charges each under the Biosecurity Act, following a successful prosecution by MPI.

Auslink was fined $16,250, while Mr Manning was fined $12,000.

“When imported sea containers are sent to and unpacked at unapproved locations, they leave the country vulnerable to pests or unwanted organisms that could have a devastating effect on the environment and people’s livelihoods,” says MPI director of investigations, Gary Orr.

“The rules are there for a reason – to protect our borders from the threat of unwanted biosecurity threats.”

Compliance investigators found that between December 2021 and April 2022, Auslink were contracted to complete biosecurity checks at their MPI Approved Transitional Facility for 15 sea containers.

“None of the required biosecurity checks were done in full. In the end, 13 of the 15 sea containers were sent to what we’d describe as a grass paddock at a farm that would never be approved as a transitional facility.”

“Placing sea containers that have not had complete biosecurity checks on to grass risks the potential for exotic pests that might be present in or on the container to get into New Zealand soil or vegetation.

“While we subsequently confirmed that no exotic pests were found in or on the 15 containers, the defendants took an unacceptable risk with New Zealand’s biosecurity,” Mr Orr says.

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