New Zealand’s shipping federation say coastal transport is a resilient lifeline during natural disasters such as earthquakes,but that not enough attention has been paid to ensuring ports are equally adaptable.
Shipping Federation executive director Annabel Young said that coastal shipping had picked up in the wake of recent earthquakes, which had highlighted the need for more investment in ports, especially roll-on roll-off ferry services.
The earthquake damaged Wellington’s container terminal, but ferries and cruise ship activities had recovered, whereas freight services were taking longer to return to normal.
Cook Strait services transport freight worth $15 billion to $20bn annually. That equated to 30-40 percent of the value of New Zealand’s total goods exports. About 820 people were employed in the ferry operations.
The University of Canterbury geological sciences professor said coastal that shipping had advantages; it could carry heavy freight and had a lower carbon footprint.