Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says coastal shipping could provide a essential lifeline to regions in future events.
“The terrible floods in Canterbury have disrupted and damaged the land-based supply chain.”
Mr Harrison says natural disasters like earthquakes and flooding were a feature of life in New Zealand.
This was on top of the COVID-19 pandemic which was still causing massive disruption and congestion in the supply chain, he says.
“We are entering into a new and uncertain age and the focus needs to go onto supply chain security.”
Mr Harrison says with climate change, it was clear that there would be ongoing and increased severe weather events, and there needed to be redundancies built into the system.
“If we don’t get this right, we are going to see ongoing disruption that will have dire economic consequences and could potentially endanger communities.”
Mr Harrison says the Government now recognized the need for a true multi-mode transport sector, but needed to deliver promptly.
He says there was now widespread support within the logistics, transport and ports sectors for rebuilding New Zealand owned and operated coastal shipping, which over many years had suffered from poor policy settings and lack of support compared to roads.
The key goal was New Zealand flagged ships connecting regions with major centres on a hub and spoke model.
“Coastal shipping is the obvious solution for low-emission, secure transport going forward.”