Benefits of shipping:
Resilience for natural disasters or emergencies.
Ships carry hazardous / dangerous cargo more safely than road, rail and air.
15% of New Zealand's inter-regional freight is carried by sea
Ships can handle oversized, heavy and bulky cargo that road, rail and air can't.
Freight volumes are forecast to increase 50% by 2040.
It won't all fit onto our roads!
New Zealand’s total freight task: 278.7 million tonnes.
Coastal shipping carries approx 10 million tonnes (3.5%).
1.15m people are transported across the Cook Strait every year
The volume of domestic freight moved by shipping has increased 50% over the last 10 years.
Approx $28 billion road and rail freight is shipped between the North and South Islands each year
1 standard container Auckland to Christchurch:
road: $2200-$3000
rail: $1300 - $1900
ship: $850 - $1300
418,470 containers are moved around the NZ coast per annum
Shipping: one-eighth the emissions of road per tonne of freight moved
Benefits of shipping:
Lower emissions per tonne of freight moved.
Increasing total freight carried by ship by just 2% would reduce total transport emissions by 16%.
Benefits of shipping:
Greater control over our domestic supply chains.
Shipping: 60% the emissions of rail per tonne of freight moved
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Fact sheet and issues summary (2019)

New Zealand Shipping Federation Fact Sheet

Coastal shipping is a vital part of New Zealand’s transport infrastructure. Recent events have shown that the coastal network is important for New Zealand economic, environmental and social welfare and vital during emergencies when road links are disabled.

New Zealand depends on coastal ships. For:

  • delivery of important goods such as fuel oil and cement.
  • the road and rail bridge for freight and passengers between Picton and Wellington.
  • moving containerised and bulk cargo around the coast
  • when roads or railways are unusable.

Central and local government decisions as well as port decisions affect the efficiencies and effectiveness of the coastal network.

The Federation is committed to working with decision-makers to ensure that the best policy settings are in place for the benefit of all New Zealanders. We are happy to work proactively to bring sector knowledge to support the policy-making process.

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

The New Zealand Shipping Federation began in 1906 and is the key representative body for New Zealand’s coastal shippers. Members of the Federation are:

Coastal Bulk cargo
Coastal Oil Logistics (COLL)
Cook Strait ferry
Swire/ ChiefCement
Moana Chief
Spirit of Canterbury
Container cargo
Silver Fern
Strait Feronia
Cook Strait ferry

Contact points for the Federation are:

Clive Glover, President 027 444 4284

Issues facing Coastal Shipping as at November 2019

The value of ships: Ships are an essential part of the economy but they are under appreciated. From tourism to building, from cars to agriculture, maritime transport is a significant contributor to the economy and transport infrastructure. The value of maritime in New Zealand has not been specifically calculated but is obviously significant given the vital transport services that are provided with no alternatives. It extends beyond the ships to the land based-activities such as education, engineering and professional services.

Dry Dock located in New Zealand for safety and environmental inspections and work Dry docks are a vital part of maritime infrastructure. We are deeply concerned that the dry docks available in New Zealand are not sufficiently large.This means that coastal 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, cleaning and repairs. This is a significant commercial loss for the New Zealand taxpayer and investors as it is a cost for the vessel operators.

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 the 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 ships that visit NZ ports. Any review of the scheme needs to consider whether imposing ETS requirements on coastal bunkers makes any sense.

Workforce on ships and on shore The sector faces problems of recruitment and an aging workforce in an international skills market. This impacts on the operations of ships and also extends into land-based activities who recruit from the maritime sector to fill roles such as pilots, harbourmasters and technical experts.

Training World-class maritime training schools are vital educational infrastructure for New Zealand. 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 complete minimum sea time is a specific pinch point due to the small number of available 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 the sector is subsidising public benefits.

Resilience 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. Much is being taken for granted.

Low sulphur fuels MARPOL Annex VI is sending shockwaves through the maritime economy. Issues of availability, price and quality of fuel plus costs of equipment changes will all impact on the costs of shipping. Disruption of the fuel supply chain should be expected.

International Maritime Organisation (IMO) New Zealand government is relatively slow to regulate for International Maritime Organisation requirements and tends to reword them. This imposes uncertainty and costs onto the sector along with additional compliance burdens.

Port Infrastructure Ports are regulated as though they are a public service operating in the interests of the hinterland but in reality they are set up as cash cows to benefit their owners, often Regional Councils. Quality control of physical and human infrastructure is lacking. Problems include port capacity (such as undersized wharves, insufficient berthing areas), outdated interfaces with other transport modes, poor maintenance, outdated design.