The union representing seafarers says New Zealand coastal shipping is experiencing a once in a generation shift, with the announcement of another new coastal shipping service by Maersk.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the new service will feature two New Zealand crewed vessels and was a major step forward for the industry.
The service, Maersk Coastal Connect, will start on 12 July, using two 2500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container) capacity vessels, Maersk Nadi and Maersk Nansha, calling at ports in Timaru, Lyttelton, Nelson, Auckland and Tauranga.
Mr Harrison says the Maritime Union has been having constructive discussions with Maersk over the crewing of the new service.
The new service comes on top of last week’s announcement of Government funding support for four other operators to introduce new coastal shipping services.
Mr Harrison says the problems affecting schedule reliability and port congestion will be improved with reliable local shipping services.
“Coastal shipping is an essential part of a resilient and low emission New Zealand supply chain moving forward.”
He says the Union would be working with industry, Government and training providers to provide opportunities for young New Zealanders wanting a career in the maritime industry.
Mr Harrison says New Zealand is a maritime trading nation and it is essential it has seafaring capability and a skilled workforce.
He says the lesson learned from the pandemic is New Zealand needs to build its workforce resilience.
“Poor policy decisions and lack of planning over a long period led to the rundown of New Zealand shipping and left us exposed and vulnerable to global volatility.”
He says the last two years have led to a complete rethink on our transport model and New Zealand coastal shipping is now in a rebuild process to repair the neglect of the last thirty years.