Joe Taylor, CEO of NXP: “International competition for PPE has seen questionable tactics used by some countries to secure the equipment”
Armed guards protect PPE secured from China
Five charter flights carrying 500 tonnes of PPE (personal protective equipment) products for essential service providers such as the NZ Police, NZ Defence Force, and healthcare workers have landed at Auckland Airport since the first week of April, with armed guards used for security.
The shipments, which included millions of disposable masks, gloves and wipes, hundreds of thousands of coveralls, and face shields, were kept under constant armed guard from the time of purchase until they left China.Joe Taylor, CEO of NXP (National Express Products), the country’s largest supplier of commercial cleaning and hygiene products, says international competition for PPE has seen questionable tactics used by some countries to secure the equipment.
“What we have seen is a frantic scramble by world governments trying to protect their own people, significant supply constraints from the highest quality manufacturers and a subsequent bidding war. A lot of companies around the world not used to dealing in China have not been able to export their PPE as they don’t pass Chinese customs authenticity checks. New Zealand is not immune to this. NXP, which is Kiwi owned, and our partners only deal with government-approved whitelist factories.
“For those who are new to the competitiveness of the international supply chain, this situation may come as a significant shock, with many finding themselves operating in an environment which can only be described as the ‘Wild West’,” Mr Taylor says.
Layers of complexity
Intervention from the Chinese Government to restrict the volume of products available for export added another layer of complexity into the sourcing of critical equipment, Mr Taylor adds.
“Despite our relatively small size as a nation, our company, the NZ Government and our supply chain partners on the ground have been developing strong relationships in China for some time. These efforts have now come to fruition and allowed us to purchase sufficient quantities of PPE to meet the immediate needs of frontline police, Defence Force, healthcare and essential service workers,” he says.
“Over the course of the next few weeks millions of units of PPE product will arrive in chartered Air New Zealand Dreamliner flights to relieve local supplies and help our essential services perform their critical roles safely.”
Mr Taylor says bringing the supplies into New Zealand has required cooperation from a number of key partners, including Government agencies, freight and logistics providers.