The maritime sector plays a crucial role in the movement of freight into, out of, and throughout New Zealand.

Below are overviews of the most viewed sea transport topics. You can also follow the links on the left of this page to find out more about the projects we are working on.

Financial security regime for offshore installations

The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a discussion document on 19 December 2016, inviting feedback from interested people and organisations. A draft Rule is now out for consultation.

Read more about the draft Rule document and provide feedback here.

Business Structures of Small Commercial Maritime Operators

The first report of its kind shows New Zealand’s small businesses (0-19 employees) engaged in fishing, off-shore aquaculture, and water transport are small but starting to get bigger.

The report, Business Structures of Small Commercial Maritime Operators [PDF, 766 KB], maps changes in small fishing, aquaculture and water transport businesses from 2000 to 2015.

Oil Pollution Levy

The Oil Pollution Levy, established by Order in Council, is a levy on all commercial maritime operators and is used to fund New Zealand’s preparedness and response to marine oil spills.

Read more about the Oil Pollution Levy can be found on the Maritime New Zealand website (external link) .

Freight Information Gathering System

Developed to provide an overview of containerised freight movements around New Zealand, the Freight Information Gathering System builds on information currently provided by Statistics New Zealand while making valuable new information on freight movements available for the first time.

The Ministry of Transport has produced a new more detailed report on transport and trade. Read more about the report here

Container productivity at New Zealand ports

For information on container productivity at New Zealand ports visit the Container productivity at New Zealand ports page or download the report directly - Ministry’s report on container productivity (PDF, 3.5mb)

Clifford Bay

The government has decided not to proceed with a ferry terminal at Clifford Bay in Marlborough. Read more about the decision here.

Key government sea transport organisations

  • The Ministry of Transport
    The Ministry is the government's principal transport adviser. We provide policy advice and support to ministers. See About the Ministry of Transport for more information.
  • Maritime New Zealand (MNZ)
    A Crown entity, MNZ's mission is to lead and support the maritime community to take responsibility for ensuring our seas are safe, secure and clean. Read more on the Maritime New Zealand (external link) website.
  • Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC)
    TAIC determines the circumstances and causes of accidents and incidents with a view to avoiding similar occurrences in future. Find out more at the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (external link) website.

About sea transport in New Zealand

The maritime sector is largely led by the private sector, although a number of local authorities have an ownership interest in their local ports.

Our sea ports are responsible for moving more than 49 million tonnes of exports (99 percent by weight of all exports) and imports, with a combined value of more than $75 billion each year. The cruise industry also plays an increasing role in our tourism market1.

Domestically, shipping is also a part of our transport system for bulk commodities, and inter-island ferry services and could potentially play a much bigger role.

The government is focussed on port productivity issues, improving public information on maritime and freight transport, and improving the safety of the maritime sector.

International shipping is governed by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) (external link) . As a signatory to the Convention, New Zealand has very clear obligations including being bound to have a comprehensive set of safety and security regulations based on the principles prescribed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). (external link)



1 Source: Statistics New Zealand (external link) , see 2010/11 figures in Transport Indicators FT010 and FT011