OperationsPorts and Logistics

New Zealand pumps millions of dollars to develop coastal shipping network

The New Zealand government’s decision this week to pump NZ$30m ($19.4m) into a coastal shipping initiative has been hailed by local unions as the “biggest turnaround for the industry this century”.

Funding for coastal shipping funding has been earmarked via the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) to improve domestic shipping services, reduce emissions, improve efficiency and upgrade maritime infrastructure.

Transport minister Michael Wood said yesterday: “Coastal shipping is a small but important part of the New Zealand freight system, which is why the government is investing in making coastal shipping a more viable alternative to strengthen and diversify our domestic supply chain, helping to secure New Zealand’s recovery from covid-19. As a lower emissions transport mode, investing in coastal shipping will also help us achieve our decarbonisation goals.”

Four companies have been selected for funding – Coastal Bulk Shipping, Move International, Swire Shipping and Westland Mineral Sands.

”With the freight industry’s support, these additional services will help to resolve immediate challenges to the coastal shipping and the wider freight sector, address some of the current issues facing the international and domestic supply chains and provide a platform for future growth across all modes with increases in capacity and capability for both new and existing bulk materials and containerised cargo,” Wood said.

Each of these four selected firms will bring at least one additional coastal shipping vessel into service.
When the new services are fully operational, it is estimated they will remove around 35m km of truck travel from New Zealand’s road network every year

The Maritime Union of New Zealand hailed this week’s funding for coastal shipping as the “biggest turnaround for the industry this century”.

As an export-oriented nation, New Zealand has been strongly impacted by the global shipping challenges during the pandemic. An extreme shortage of liner calls to New Zealand in recent months has prompted talk among exporters of the need to create a national shipping line.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The incompetent corrupt NZ communist government have failed spectacularly at everything they’ve tried to fix….health, justice, crime, education, forestry, energy, racism (racism against white people is apparently deserved), youth, house prices, employment, child poverty….everything. They will employ some clueless idiots on $5k/day to discuss coastal shipping and that will be the end of it. As NZ becomes the Venezuela of the Pacific, it must be remembered that these imbeciles were the ones responsible for destroying NZ coastal shipping in the 90’s.

  2. Why isn’t the private sector funding this? Why does the govt need to be doing anything?
    If there is an argument that NZ coastal shipping has been destroyed by govt because it turned it over to the market and biz, then it falls on the private sector to produce results.
    Right wing NZ govts both Nats and Lab got out of biz turning these things over to the Neo-liberal market to do it better and cheaper. Apparently that didn’t work out too well or there wouldn’t be the need now for govt funding.
    That people are accusing Neo-liberal govts of being communist has to the laugh of the month.

  3. @ Steve Pickup
    NZ coastal shipping has to pay tax, GST, ACC levies and give seafarers (who also pay tax) humane conditions and wages relevant to NZ. Overseas shipping do not.
    Can you compete for your job with a Chinese national on $5/day? No? Thought so.

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