Thursday, May 30, 2024

Coastal shipping to keep supply chain afloat

Transport Minister, Michael Wood has welcomed the release of the Coastal Shipping Investment Approach State-of-Play report as an important step towards a more sustainable coastal shipping sector, which he says will further diversify New Zealand’s supply chain.

“This Government is committed to strengthening our domestic supply chain by making coastal shipping a more viable alternative for moving freight within New Zealand,” Minister Wood said.

“We are still experiencing the serious consequences of COVID-19 on global supply chains, with unprecedented delays to freight, so it’s essential that we increase our resilience against any future disruptions of this scale,.”

The insights provided in this initial report by independent consultants from Pacific Marine Management, commissioned by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, will help decide how best to invest the $30 million funding that has been earmarked for coastal shipping in the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), he said.

To achieve the Government’s objectives for coastal shipping, Waka Kotahi will look at investing in:

  • Enhancing domestic shipping services, with new services, increased frequencies and additional ships for new or existing container and bulk services;
  • Reducing shipping emissions through testing emerging technologies;
  • Improving efficiency with upgrades to rail or road links to and from ports;
  • Upgrading maritime infrastructure including shore power connections at ports, small new regional ports, and expanding existing ports.

“The release of this report is another step towards a resilient and sustainable coastal shipping sector. Waka Kotahi is currently developing guidance for the sector on how to develop proposals and apply for funding. They’re expecting to engage with the sector in early 2022 on next steps.

“We want to give businesses more choice in how they move their freight. Moving more freight by ship will also help drive down emissions, as shipping has a lower emissions per tonne-kilometre than land transport, and also reduce the number of trucks on the roads, which will improve safety and reduce congestion.”

Mr Wood said investment would make New Zealand’s supply chain more resilient, which was especially important given the strains that COVID-19 and global congestion have placed on it.

“The Kaikōura earthquake also showed how important it is to have a reliable alternative to move freight on top of road and rail.”

“In the meantime, we’re continuing work to mitigate supply chain problems caused by COVID-19, which includes increasing capacity through KiwiRail, extending the aviation support package so businesses can tap into international markets, and working with the sector to address issues as they arise,” Mr Wood said.

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