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EU innovates to get freight off roads

Media Release
4 October 2003

EU innovates to get freight off roads

The New Zealand Shipping Federation today said that new European Union laws rewarding the shifting of road freight to coastal shipping would further increase pressure and expectation on the New Zealand Government to do something similar.

The Federation’s Manager, Paul Nicholas, said the EU was clearly serious about reducing road freight and gaining from the much lower economic, environmental and social costs of shipping.

“The EU has demonstrated what Governments do if they are really serious about increasing the role played by domestic shipping.

“We are currently waiting for the Government’s own response to the Shipping Industry Report.

“The EU has set the standard, and we expect our Government to at least match it,” Mr Nicholas said.

Recent EU guidelines mean that operators producing a verifiable modal switch from road haulage can now receive state aid for up to three years. The guidelines have included “short sea shipping” for the first time, and have extended existing rules on tonnage tax and seafarer tax exemption.

Mr Nicholas said the New Zealand Government needed to consider similar innovative approaches if they are serious about reducing the volumes of heavy freight being carried on roads.

He said the main change needed was for local shipping to have free access to ports around its own country, and preference in carrying domestic freight.

“If the current policy doesn’t change, we won’t see a domestic shipping industry that will be able to play a full role in reducing the environmental effects of long-haul heavy freight at all within the next decade.”

Mr Nicholas said the rumoured access of coastal shipping projects to roading funds would make little difference if a solution like the Federation’s new alternative was not adopted.

The New Zealand Shipping Federation is an association of New Zealand’s domestic shipping companies.

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