Timaru’s port is well-placed to cope with increased demand for coastal shipping after the North Canterbury earthquakes, PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt says.
The vulnerability of roading and rails meant businesses could look for alternative transportation in light of the earthquakes last week.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges anticipated there would be a “big shift to ships”.
I suspect most rail freight could go by ship, and it would probably be environmentally more friendly.
Labour Party MPs have been advocating for a national port strategy in light of the earthquakes, which Bridges dismissed.
The proposal would see the creation of a New Zealand-wide port strategy for the shipping network, instead of a hierarchy built by competition.
However, Bridges said “heavy handed” central directives would get it wrong.
“Let a natural hierarchy of ports emerge from competition,” he said.
Melhopt echoed Bridges and said “PrimePort doesn’t believe that a central planning approach, National Port Strategy, is required”.
“The market will ultimately adjust to the transport challenges posed by recent events. Coastal shipping is already responding.”
So Labour basically want the Government to decide where the ports are, and which port does what – rather than allow for competition between ports.