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New Zealand To Revitalise Coastal Shipping

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

05 November 2007


The government of New Zealand wants to see at least 30% of all inter-regional freight carried by coastal shipping by the year 2040, Transport Minister Annette King announced on November 5.

King has released Sea Change, a draft strategy designed to revitalise and transform coastal shipping services in New Zealand.

Commenting on the strategy, King stated:

“At present about 15 percent of freight is carried by coastal services, including the Cook Strait ferries. For too long coastal shipping has been the poor cousin of the transport sector, instead of being interconnected with rail and road, effectively linking all transport modes."

“In the next 10 years, the amount of freight that must be moved around New Zealand is expected to double, putting pressure on the existing transportation system and network."

King added that the new strategy will be central to the government's stated aim of reducing New Zealand's carbon footprint.

“We need to reduce the transport system’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

“This government is committed to making New Zealand the world’s first carbon neutral country, and we have announced a raft of initiatives to address climate change. Coastal shipping allows both cost savings and environmental benefits which are not being realised now. If we move more domestic freight by sea, we can reduce congestion on the roads and reduce environmental impacts. The objective of the Sea Change draft strategy is to promote a level playing field for coastal shipping in competing with other transport modes.”

King explained that the strategy “is not just aspirational. It is also a practical plan for action, and proposes four steps to help transform domestic freight services”.

These steps include:

  • Establish a Maritime Liaison Unit (MLU) within the Transport Ministry to create a visible focal point for the coastal shipping sector;
  • Address perceived barriers to coastal shipping interests accessing government funds;
  • Address the need for government agencies and the sector to work together to increase the supply of skilled workers;
  • Emphasise the need for information gathering to provide a clear picture of services, their performance and required improvements.

“I believe the Sea Change strategy will signal a bold new future for coastal shipping in New Zealand, and that it will be the start of a new partnership between the government, coastal shipping providers and other parts of the transport sector," King concluded.


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