Small and medium businesses are complaining about losing an average of $20,000 from Auckland's bitter and unresolved port dispute.

An Auckland Chamber of Commerce survey of 200 businesses reported a combined bottom-line loss of $2 million from the dispute between the council-owned port company and the Maritime Union.

The figure is on top of at least $8 million in revenue lost by the company itself, and will be only a portion of the damage the row over failed collective employment negotiations and the port's contracting out plans has inflicted on the economy.

Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett told the Weekend Herald he believed most members of the region's business community were feeling let down by the company's failure to achieve more efficient work practices.


"The port went to them and said, we have a good case here, we can achieve modern-day working practices, we can deliver you a more efficient port, we can be more competitive with Tauranga," he said.

"I think the business community generally believed [that] and was prepared to suffer a little bit."

Mr Barnett said strong language in the email survey reflected frustration and disillusionment with both the union and the port company.