Constraints on global freight and logistics and a booming market for steel have seen the cost of drums used for honey storage increase this beekeeping season.
Honey producers have three main sources for drums: newly manufactured within New Zealand, imported new drums, or refurbished second hand drums, plus an option to lease stainless steel drums. Several suppliers say beekeepers should be budgeting on a price increase, and potentially ordering early.
At Global Honey Corp, owner Jason Shaw says the cost of importing drums has risen, significantly at times, since Covid-19 has disrupted global freight channels. That makes pricing drums difficult and prices have increased for the coming season.
“We will quote, get an order and then the freight will come in two or three thousand dollars higher,” Shaw says.
“This is an ongoing problem and it isn’t going away anytime soon.”
Global Honey’s wait times to get drums delivered to clients is at least 90 days, so Shaw recommends beekeepers get in early.
The global steel price has nearly doubled in the past year, meaning the cost of manufacturing drums has risen too.
VIP Packaging have two drum manufacturing plants, one each in in North and South islands and, while cost of production has increased, Business Unit Manager Hayden Grant says they have worked to keep drum prices increases to a minimum and they have the ability to provide quick turnaround to beekeepers.
“Our drum supply is continuous in that we have robust steel supply coming out of our steel suppliers,” Grant says.
“It comes in from a global supplier, but we have good stock holdings of steel and a robust supply chain. Then we have local manufacture which allows us to respond to market demands as demand ramps up for the season.”
The slowing in importation of drums appears to have led to more beekeepers looking to second hand drums, with Astron Sustainability reporting an increase in demand for their refurbished drums in recent months.