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​Issues facing Coastal Shipping 

Issues facing Coastal Shipping

as at March 2018

The Federation remains committed to safe, secure and clean shipping.

Specific issues of concern to the Federation are:

The value of maritime transport

Maritime transport is a significant part of the economy but it is underappreciated.From tourism to building, from cars to agriculture, maritime transport is a significant contributor to the economy and transport infrastructure.The value of the maritime cluster in New Zealand has not been calculated.It extends beyond the ships to the land based-activities such as education, engineering and professional services.

Coastal opportunities

New Zealand is a coastal nation.Commercial opportunities exist to increase the use of shipping around the coast but there are significant impediments to innovative use of maritime options.

Inequitable environmental charges

The operation of the emissions trading scheme penalises coastal shipping while at the same time giving an advantage to international shipping.Any review of the scheme needs to consider whether imposing ETS requirements on coastal bunkers makes any sense.

Workforce on ships and on shore

Officers and crew and land-based maritime staff are highly skilled and hold specialist qualifications.

The sector faces problems relating to an aging workforce and an international market for their skills.This impacts on the operations of the ships and also extends into the land-based activities such as pilots, harbourmasters and technical experts working for the regulator.

The pathways to qualifications are difficult, partly because they are an amalgam of experience at sea and technical training.The requirement for trainees (including cadets) to do sea time is a specific pinch point due to the small number of vessels in the coastal fleet.

Levies and fairness

There are a range of levies imposed on shipping such as the Maritime Levy to fund the regulator Maritime NZ, and the Oil Pollution Levy to fund recovery operations after oil spills.Coastal ship operators are prepared to pay their share but we are concerned that we are funding other parts of the sector and public good work.


In recent years there has been significant use of maritime options in emergency situations where road or rail are not available.The need to build in resilience exceeds commercial requirements and the government funding of public good resilience needs to be considered.

Dry Dock located in New Zealand

The sector is deeply concerned that the dry docks available in New Zealand are not sufficiently large.This means that vessels are required to travel to Singapore, or if they are lucky Sydney, to access a dry dock for their mandatory and other out-of-water inspections, maintenance and repairs.This is a significant opportunity loss for the New Zealand taxpayer as it is a cost for the vessel operators.

Low sulphur fuels

The sector urgently needs clear guidance in respect of the requirements to use low sulphur fuel, including how it will be supplied to New Zealand bunkers, by whom and at which ports.The price differential of using diesel is about 50% extra and users throughout the value chain need to factor this into their decisions.

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

New Zealand government is relatively slow to regulate for IMO requirements, as is illustrated by the MARPOL VI and the Convention on the Limitation of Maritime Claims.In addition the government funding of the New Zealand presence at IMO meetings is not sufficient, especially given the importance to our economy of the IMO’s decisions.