Minister Welcomes Opening Up of Trans-Tasman trade

  • Maurice Williamson

Minister of Transport Maurice Williamson today welcomed signs of the opening up of the trans-Tasman shipping trade.

"Over the last few years increasing amounts of trans-Tasman cargo have been carried by foreign ships, despite a maritime union accord which has tried to prevent foreign competition entering the trade" said Mr Williamson. "Foreign ships are carrying cargo because they give New Zealand and Australian exporters more transport options in terms of service and price."

Mr Williamson welcomed recent statements in Australia that suggested that the union accord was finished and that foreign ships would be able to carry trans-Tasman cargo.

"Successive New Zealand Governments have supported open competition on the Tasman and encouraged shipping companies and exporters to choose the shipping service that best meets their needs.

"I welcome a more efficient use of shipping space through open competition on the Tasman. It makes economic sense to allow foreign ships to be able to fill their surplus cargo space when travelling across the Tasman."

Mr Williamson said that the competition from new entrants to the trade would provide a strong challenge to the New Zealand shipping industry. However, the experience of coastal shipping reform in New Zealand showed that the New Zealand industry was in a good position to be able to compete.