Why Coastal Shipping is Important for NZ Shippers

2-minute read

New Zealand’s coastal shipping sector needs to be acknowledged as a valuable transport asset that figures prominently in future transport planning, according to both the New Zealand Shipping Federation and Customs Brokers’ and Freight Forwarders’ Federation (CBAFF).

Noting a number of recent transport planning reports had overlooked the “essential” role of the sector, Shipping Federation executive director Annabel Young said road and rail continued to dominate the focus of Treasury and the Government.

“A major weakness in the Government’s new 30-year infrastructure plan is that it barely mentions ships,” said Ms Young.

“The plan does say ‘Most of our international freight is moved through a few large ports. Larger ships dominate the movement of New Zealand’s exports and imports.” Then it ignores the shipping infrastructure even though it is an important strategic asset for this country.

“Ironically, the Government’s plan is full of photos of ships and they are mainly coastal ships. Ships need roads and rail but there are three legs on the transport stool: road, rail and ships. Without the maritime leg, the stool will fall over.

“The entire country benefits when you have a sustainable coastal shipping infrastructure with which shippers can utilise.”

Ms Young added that ship operations were user-pays and therefore, unsubsidised by the taxpayer. CBAFF president Glenn Coldham said coastal shipping “should not be ignored”.

“As New Zealand becomes less attractive to import vessels from overseas, we need to ensure our infrastructure is geared to ensuring our import and export cargo has a regular and consistent network to support that trade, and to keep the New Zealand international supply chain competitive and lean,” he said.

“An opportunity exists to rationalise and use such coastal services as feeders for full container load exports from potential non-international ports in the future to those ports that service foreign ships.

“This again highlights a need to ensure road, rail and coastal shipping be considered as an integrated supply chain, and to minimise barriers to keeping costs down in the transport network while maintaining surety of supply.”

Source: NZ Shipping Gazette

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