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Wood announces boost to Coastal shipping

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 am, May 25th, 2022 - 36 comments
Categories: climate change, michael wood, transport - Tags:

One of the Government’s best performing Ministers continues to impress.

Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced funding to increase coastal shipping services in New Zealand.

From the Beehive website:

New Zealand is a step closer to a more resilient, competitive, and sustainable coastal shipping sector following the selection of preferred suppliers for new and enhanced coastal shipping services, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today.

“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,” Michael Wood said.

The Government has committed $30 million of funding for coastal shipping funding through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) to improve domestic shipping services, reduce emissions, improve efficiency and upgrade maritime infrastructure.

Four preferred suppliers of the services have been identified and it is anticipated will invest a further $60 million in the sector.

The proposal will not only improve resilience, and reduce congestion but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  From the press release:

“When the new services are fully operational, it is estimated they will remove around 35 million kilometres of truck travel from New Zealand’s roading network every year, reducing wear and tear and improving safety for road users, while at the same time creating new employment opportunities for mariners and supporting regional development. This will also support our commitment in the recently released Emissions Reduction Plan to reduce emissions from freight transport by 35 per cent by 2035.

“Through this funding we are taking an important step towards better utilising the blue highway, improving our freight system, and future proofing our national supply chain.

Coastal shipping has withered for years.  It is good to see that it is being supported and improved.

36 comments on “Wood announces boost to Coastal shipping ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Michael Wood this week gave us a text book example of how to take down our mini-Murdochs at NZME. Along with this announcement that means he is, quite simply, the last, best hope for the futrure of the NZ Labour Party.

  2. Anne 2

    Said some years ago Michael Wood was a rising political star. He's on track to be PM one day. Smart as they come and a great communicator. What's more he's done it the best way… worked his way up from the bottom of the ladder gathering knowledge and experience as he progressed.

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      Agreed Anne.

    • Belladonna 2.2

      Agree that Wood appears to be one of the stars of the Labour lineup. One minister who seems to be able to make things happen (although this is still just an announcement, at this stage).

      Please take the albatross of Auckland Light Rail from around his neck.

      It's already cost millions (before there is even an accepted plan), and would be a billion-dollar project, causing vast disruption (and consequent unpopularity) for decades.

      • newsense 2.2.1

        It goes through his electorate, we need it done and others have had a go and not got very far.

        Besides maybe someone needs to Teal campaign Simeon Brown and his mate with the leadership. Good public transport is essential to reducing transportation emissions.
        It’s not just the title, it’s the work you get done too.

        • Belladonna

          Why do you think we "need it done"'?

          Agree that good PT is important. Very difficult to see this light rail (in whatever iteration we're up to now) as good PT.
          There are many more low-hanging fruit which could be picked off.

          Rather than something which is going to absorb the whole of the PT development budget for a decade or more, prove to be vastly unpopular (in his electorate and anywhere else the building disruption goes), result in a number of houses being demolished, and deliver very questionable PT benefits (much of it virtually replicates the existing train station network)

          Which is why it keeps getting kicked for touch.

          Much better to admit that it's a lemon of an idea, and move on.

          • newsense

            Not at all why it keeps getting kicked to touch. It has been a bunch of vested interests and silos trying to keep themselves involved, from what I can make out.

            It replicates the train network? It absolutely does not.
            Have you ever been to Auckland?

            In fact it corrects one of the biggest screw ups of the terrible Parnell station and actually gets a station at Auckland Uni. Students bring some of the most consistent users of public transport.

            I guess you’ve never sat in traffic next to the long lines of buses on Dominion road.

            It’s future proofed rapid transit and it’s because of constant carping it wasn’t done earlier and cheaper.

            Electric, on rails and off the roads. With the option to extend to the Shore at a later date.

            I have to suspect concern trolling.

            • Belladonna

              Yes, I live in Auckland. Yes, I have friends who live in the area (I'm on the Shore myself – which has an entirely different PT set of issues)

              Try this article, and site for a different perspective


              • newsense

                Yes, I’m well aware of Greater Auckland.

                With Simeon Brown calling cycle ways some kind of left wing ideology, while we have flooding, while we have Australian ash settling on our decreasing glaciers, it needs better from the transport Minister’s supporters.

                If as you say you are such a fan of the minister perhaps read his posts on Greater Auckland too and respect the enormous amount of work done and to be done:

                Minister Wood at length on the light rail project


                Making it happen

                Debate about all of these variations is good, and is not unexpected given the city-shaping nature of the proposal in front of us. I’m keeping my ears open, as are other Ministers. I would however encourage people who want to see MRT move forward for Auckland to remember that there is a war to be won, and not to solely focus on particular battles.

                At the outset I covered off the stymied history of Light Rail in Auckland. Making it happen will require unity and determination. The same regressive forces who argue against any progressive transport change are stirring once again, and will use their money and influence to try and stop change from happening. If you have a firm view about the options on the table then great, please let us know (no one seems to need too much encouragement) but please also get out there and help to sell the core case for Auckland Light Rail.

                The CRL only got started because Len Brown just got on with it. Britomart had endless carry on. But thank god they got on with it.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Well done Michael Wood–and MUNZ and earlier SeaFarers unionists that never gave up on coastal shipping over many long years.

    Mr Wood gets things done because he sees beyond neo liberal orthodoxy–in other words he has the ability to think for himself, organise, and not get stood over as per other Ministers by the State Sector snake pit.

    • KJT 3.1

      Maritime Union of New Zealand media release


      The Maritime Union says successful funding outcomes for coastal shipping are a game changer for New Zealand shipping and the biggest turnaround for the industry this century.

      Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the outcome will see four or more New Zealand operated ships come into service on the New Zealand coast.

      He says the new ships will have a substantial positive impact on New Zealand’s supply chain crisis as well as providing environmental benefits.

      Mr Harrison says it is essential the new ships are New Zealand flagged and New Zealand crewed to build resilience and capability in the shipping sector.

      Minister of Transport Michael Wood announced on 24 May 2022 the Government had committed $30 million of funding for coastal shipping funding through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) to improve domestic shipping services, reduce emissions, improve efficiency and upgrade maritime infrastructure.

      Waka Kotahi worked with the wider freight industry to select four applicants for co-investment in new and enhanced coastal shipping services through the NLTP.

      The four successful applicants were Coastal Bulk Shipping Ltd, Move International Ltd, Swire Shipping NZ Ltd and Aotearoa Shipping Alliance.

      Mr Harrison says after decades of neglect, New Zealand coastal shipping had turned a corner and could now begin to fulfil its potential.

      The Maritime Union had relationships with several of the operators and would work to ensure crews were available.

      Mr Harrison says further investment in training and skills for a new generation of New Zealand seafarers was an important aspect of rebuilding the industry.

      He says it is essential that a maritime trading nation like New Zealand had shipping capability and skilled seafarers in an increasingly volatile global situation.

      Coastal shipping was a low carbon emission transport mode, so provided environmental as well as economic benefits.

      When the new shipping services are fully operational, the Government estimates they will remove around 35 million kilometres of truck travel from New Zealand’s roading network every year.


    • KJT 3.2

      Not just MUNZ.

      Local shipping and logistics companies, the other Maritime Unions and many individuals, have been putting the case, for decades.
      More skilled jobs locally especially for those displaced from coastal tankers, and oil exploration.
      Great news.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.2.1

        Yes, apols for not including the full roll of honour. I remember doing the layout on a Maritime Unions publication in mid 90s that covered Foreign flagged ships, exploited crews, “Cabotage” with Australia and NZ Coastal shipping.

        The highways for maritime transport are already there!

  4. Ad 4

    Look I see the funding, but what are the targeted outcomes?

    • KJT 4.1

      Read the press releases. LOL.

      Four more coastal ships.

      Saving 35 million kilometres of truck journeys, and the associated pollution, roading costs and other infrastructure costs.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        I've read the release and I don't believe they will attain what they are claiming, particularly if it's promised by MoT.

        Sure all things take time but they are 7 years into power and we are multiple years before this effort might be any kind of reality.

        Woods is better at opening cycleways.

        • KJT

          Not MOT.

          Sometimes I wonder if you can read?

          • Ad

            MoT always provide the advice which express the policy outcomes, which is where the suspicion ought to lie, all the time.

            "Waka Kotahi worked with the wider freight industry (NZ Shipping Federation, Port Company CEO Group, National Road Carriers, KiwiRail, and Te Manatū Waka – Ministry of Transport), to select four applicants for co-investment in new and enhanced coastal shipping services through the NLTP."

            So, twice, fuck off for telling me I don't read the media releases.

            And only a complete and utter fucking moron trusts promises in media releases anyway.

        • Corey Humm

          Seven years in power? Since we have three year terms, um When was the third election? Lol.

          Labour have been in government for four and a half years….

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    Smells like a vision being realised.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    I don't know much about the specifics of the economics of costal shipping compared to road, rail etc. Or the degree to which port infrastructure would need to be upgraded. So, I can't really comment on specifics.

    But, on the face of it, it seems like a reasonable idea, especially so far as freighting from the North Island to the South Island is concerned. Whether by road or rail, the goods need to go onto a ship at some point anyway to get across Cook's Strait. So going on a ship from port to port probably makes more sense.

    And, the economies of shipping must be looking more attractive now compared to road freighting given the high fuel prices.

    Plus the benefit of less wear and tear on the road is a major indirect benefit.

  7. Patricia Bremner 7

    Michael Wood is a mover and a shaker. This is rejuvenation for some areas of New Zealand. He seems to be able to sell his ideas as well as connect with the affected parties. He is one of the reasons the "No talent outside the top four" oft spouted by the right, is so much rubbish. Governing is not just political speak, it is action and Michael Wood is a good example of this Government in action. smiley When the funds are voted for and signed off, that is a concrete plan.

  8. newsense 8

    I’ve often wondered if there’s any place for wind powered coastal freight…Would be a good use of all that amazing yachting prowess we keep talking about. Though the Clydesdale end rather than the racehorse end.

  9. Puckish Rogue 9

    I’d like to think this would/will happen because the more trucks off the road the better, I’m just wondering how this will be implemented

    If its large bulk containers being moved and there’s no real hurry then fine it can work but it feels like the same argument for using rail more and the argument against rail is it generally doesn’t work for items that need to be moved in a hurry and for smaller amounts.

    Sorting out rail and making it more user friendly might have been a better option to look at first but who knows it might actually work

    • Scud 9.1

      If KiwiRail can increase its Axle Weight across the entire Rail Network, it will have a huge impact for both Freight & Pax Services.

      Even with small changes to the current rail alignment while they increase Axle Weights will also have long term benefits for the country.

      • Puckish Rogue 9.1.1

        Can the tracks handle it and what would it take to make it happen?

        • theotherpat

          mostly they can and the newer wagons take a 56 ton load….more wagons and more loco power is what we need….in the sth still using 40 year old units.

          • Scud

            The new Sth Is Loco's have been ordered & for the life of me, I can't remember the name but they are from Switzerland & will have tonnes of spare grunt.

            Plus there is an option for a further order. My understanding the Swiss company also does a Bi Mode Spark Loco's similar to the new Diesel Electric Loco's.

            So providing NACT's don't keep running KiwiRail down during their term of Government. So it's going to be an exciting time for Rail in NZ over the next decade if these various projects get the go ahead.

        • Scud

          Once the fix up the tracks with heavy rail & lowering the rail in the tunnels/ daylighting them if possible there would no issues.

          Apart from the NAL & the improvements being to the Auckland Region & the Golden Triangle. A lot of the points ie junction points for changing tracks are being upgraded to for the heavily Axle Weights, as the points are the very expensive & time consuming to build/ install.

          As someone has pointed out the new wagons will be able to take the new Axle Weights, even if the alignment stays the same & that mean some minor works to keep inside the loading gauge throughout the Rail Network.

          Ideally the alignment does need to be fixed up as will down the track if KiwiRail & whatever NZG in future wants increase the efficiency of the Network.

          This will probably happen when they decide to convert the from Diesel Electric Loco's to Bi Mode/ Single Mode Sparks.

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