Shipping investment a first step

Last week’s announcement by Kotahi and the Port of Tauranga that will allow the port to start a long-term investment programme to enable it to receive bigger ships has been welcomed by the New Zealand Shippers’ Council (NZSC). But, it says, it’s just the first step towards ensuring New Zealand’s international competitiveness.

The step was a key recommendation in the New Zealand Shippers’ Council’s 2010 ‘Big Ships Report’.

“It is a positive move that will help exporters capture significant savings and remain competitive in the world stage, with continued access to overseas markets directly from New Zealand, says NZSC.

However, NZSC executive officer, Peter Morris, says that this is just the first step. “This announcement should not stop Auckland, Lyttleton and Otago continuing their investment to accommodate biggers ships. This will ensure they can support the future growth forecast in both exports and imports and diversify risk away from a single port strategy.

“This is a very signficant and important development in our international supply chain and should be seen as the first of a number of developments and not the end game,” says Morris.

The investment by the Port of Tauranga to dredge the port and bring in bigger ships will not just benefit the container sector – the break bulk sector will also gain from the changes.

It is now up to NZSC members to work with carriers to ensure the necessary collaboration happens to fill the big ships without a significant lessening of competition, suggests Morris. “This will help protect New Zealand’s international competitiveness for the long term.”

The NZSC is a not-for-profit organisation representing the supply chain interests of major New Zealand shippers, with members across all sectors including ports, freight forwarders, road and rail. In 2010, the Council released its report ‘The question of bigger ships: securing New Zealand’s international supply chain’. The report indicated New Zealand exporters would save around $338 million a year as a result of a New Zealand port becoming capable of handling big ships.

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