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Ports have bigger problems than the shape of their diggings

Friday 4 March 2016

Ports have bigger problems than the shape of their diggings

Port of Napier has a bigger problem than the shapes appearing on their maps, according to the Shipping Federation of New Zealand.

“Feeder ships taking cargo from smaller ports to larger ports is the future of maritime transport in New Zealand. Dredging to allow deeper drafts is a waste of rate-payers money in most ports,” said NZ Shipping Federation Executive Director, Annabel Young.

“Increasing the depth of the port does not guarantee that bigger ships will arrive.”

“Ships go where the cargo is. It is faulty reasoning to increase capacity in the hope that this will attract larger ships. The only guarantee is that the increased capital investment will have to be funded by higher port charges or higher property rates. Port owners need to be held to account for this,” said Executive Director, Annabel Young

“The aggregation of cargoes (both import and export) at inland ports is the nationwide trend. This leads to greater contestability between ports and increases the likelihood of fewer big ports servicing international routes and smaller feeder ports. It also makes over-capitalised ports with high port charges unattractive to exporters and importers.”

“Napier’s port is owned by the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and Horizons (formerly known as the Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council). At the election in October, the port owners need to demonstrate that they have exercised sound stewardship of the port assets. The business case for spending up large on a deeper port does not meet this test.”

New Zealand Shipping Federation says that it will raising this issue with candidates in the local body elections this year.


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