Sea cargo pathway review

Biosecurity New Zealand asked for a review of cargo systems in 2019. It was to help us better understand the pressures in clearing cargo and to identify ways we can improve biosecurity. Find out about the review, its recommendations, and the improvements we're making.

Bolstering biosecurity and clearance systems

Consultants Grant Thornton completed Strengthening cargo: Review of the sea cargo pathway in July 2019.

It was to be used as an internal resource to help us:

  • understand the pressures faced by industry working with cargo
  • identify ways we can improve biosecurity.

We released the report publicly on 23 April 2021.

Biosecurity New Zealand responds to a rapidly expanding range and intensity of biosecurity risks combined with a steady year-on-year increase in import consignments arriving into the country. Biosecurity New Zealand responds to this challenge by taking a multi-layered, intelligence-led, and targeted approach to border security. The report refers to incursion events over the past 10 years, including Mycoplasma bovis, Psa, and fruit fly.

As of April 2021, the M.bovis eradication programme is progressing well with fewer farms under controls as we move toward the long-term surveillance phase over the next 12 months. MPI successfully eradicated fruit fly from 2 Auckland suburbs in 2019. The 2010 Psa incursion (under the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) led to greater collaboration between government and industry in preparing for incursions and in how we respond to them.

The report also refers to the threat posed by the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). Over the past year, the numbers of BMSB detected at our border have dropped significantly, thanks to stricter import requirements for high-risk cargo from countries with established populations.

The report made a number of recommendations that would help Biosecurity New Zealand further strengthen its ability to manage these challenges.

Strengthening cargo: Review of the sea cargo pathway [PDF, 1.6 MB]

What we're doing in response to the cargo review

Biosecurity New Zealand is already implementing most of the recommendations, which support work that was under way.

We are tracking progress against the review’s 68 recommendations.

Some key areas of progress

  • In January 2020, we established the Sea Cargo Pathway Renewal Programme.
  • Biosecurity Zealand has been restructured to strengthen leadership and accountability and enable system-wide thinking.
  • We have established a programme management office to make better use of project management disciplines.
  • We have established a Digital Data and Technology Governance Board to provide stronger oversight of significant technology improvements.
  • We are developing a strategic financial approach to ensure investment in key parts of the system through a long-term investment plan.
  • We have appointed a chief biosecurity officer and a Biosecurity Strategy and Governance Directorate to improve leadership of the biosecurity system.
  • There is a comprehensive work programme in place that will improve the management of transitional facilities.
  • We have 2 new liaison roles with responsibility to work with industry to identify supply chain infrastructure problems.

We have already made considerable progress toward reducing cargo clearance times through:

  • changes to clearance processes
  • the appointment of additional officers (19 new target evaluators have been appointed)
  • new technology (a risk and intelligence tool for staff use).

Biosecurity New Zealand’s activities in response to the sea cargo pathway review [PDF, 324 KB]

Overhaul of legislation will further support biosecurity work

A review of the Biosecurity Act 1993 is also underway that will strengthen legislative support for biosecurity activities and provide clear direction for decision makers across the biosecurity system.

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