7 May 2024

Coastal shipping at an impasse

From Nine To Noon, 9:25 am on 7 May 2024

Coastal shipping was seen as a saviour after Cyclone Gabrielle, but Government backing for the sector has cooled.

The Government subsidised a coastal shipping route between Napier and Gisborne after the cyclone washed out roads connecting the two centres.

That followed a $30 million contestable fund Waka Kotahi doled out in 2022 to coastal shippers to help co-fund more ships.

But the coastal shipping sector is at an impasse; a new Government is in and there is no sign of further support like what was received in 2022.

Coastal shippers can move more freight per unit of fuel required - meaning lower emissions than trucking and less wear on the roads. Despite that trucks move more than 90 percent of freight in New Zealand.

Alistair Skingley is country manager for Swire Shipping - a Singapore company that runs two container ships between Auckland and Christchuch.

John Harbord is executive director of the Shipping Federation.


 The purchase of MV Rangitata, which ran the Napier-Gisborne route, was with the help of Waka Kotahi funding.     Photo: Supplied/ Eastland Port