Some Auckland (New Zealand) ferry services were cancelled through to March 2022 as staff shortages hit the beginning of the 2022 commuting season.
According to Fullers360, 15 services per day had been cancelled from January 10, 2022. Among them were services to Half Moon Bay, Waiheke Island, and Gulf Harbour.
9 of the cancellations – 7 on the Gulf Harbour route and 2 serving Half Moon Bay – are contracted as public transport services to Auckland Transport.
Fullers360 is replacing the contracted trips with bus services. It said:
“This is a last resort decision and one we are regrettably making.”
The cancellations signalled the return to disruptions that emerged in mid-2021 when the ferry operator blamed the skill shortages on border closures due to COVID.
According to Fullers360, the decision was "reflective of the talent shortfall" they and their industry peers had been facing.
“The talent shortage comes at a significant cost to our business and at a time when we want to be maximising the peak summer period to support the recovery of local economies, and our own business after providing more than four months of restricted essential services.”
The company said the talent shortage had been an industry-wide crisis, and that it would work with fellow ferry operators, industry leaders, local and central government to advocate for “strategies that create sustainable solutions.”
Auckland Council is planning to invest in upgrading the ferry services of the city, proposing funding in coming years for 6 or 7 electric ferries and charging infrastructure.