Fonterra and shipping companies held up to scrutiny

The Maritime Union’s comments on the effect on ports of decisions by Fonterra and shipping companies have featured widely in the news.

TVNZ reports that “the Maritime Union of New Zealand is calling for national co-ordination of port strategy, arguing that Fonterra is exerting such power as a customer it is effectively rationalising the port industry.”

The Taranaki Daily News writes that “Zealand’s waterfront workers and seafarers have savaged Fonterra’s decision to drop Port Taranaki, warning it has the potential to ‘rip the guts out’ of the port” following a “a bombshell decision last week, the dairy giant said it would be railing Whareroa product to Auckland and Tauranga instead.”

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Regional ports at mercy of Fonterra and shipping companies

The Maritime Union says Fonterra’s decision to stop shipping containerized exports through Port Taranaki and Port Timaru was an example of how entire regional economies within New Zealand were being disrupted.

The recent announcement by Fonterra means the loss of 25,000 boxes of cargo to Port Taranaki in New Plymouth, and the loss of 24,000 boxes to Port Timaru annually.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the “overnight decisions” by Fonterra and major shipping companies are harming regional communities and regional ports through a process of “destructive competition” where ports experienced major and unpredictable changes in shipments.

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Budget takes New Zealand transport down the wrong road

The Maritime Union says the budget announced today is a step backward for transport infrastructure.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the lack of support for the maritime industry is a glaring omission.

Mr Hanson says the abandonment of the SeaChange strategy to build up New Zealand shipping in favour of building more roads is a bad mistake.

“The Government has poured money into roading as the world hits peak oil and climate change. They are moving in exactly the wrong direction. Shipping is the transport mode of the future that is low-impact, environmentally responsible and cost effective in the long term, but has been sidelined.”

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