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PACIFICA Shipping’s recent announcement that it plans to add a second vessel to its coastal shipping service in New Zealand has been met with support from the country’s maritime union.

An operating division of Swire Shipping, Pacifica Shipping has been operating MV Moana Chief on the New Zealand coast since 2019.

Pacifica Shipping said it has identified an opportunity to build on the support it has received from customers by adding an additional sailing each week.

The use of a second vessel is expected to offer more frequent connections between the main centre of the North and South Island and improving coverage of regional ports.

“This will allow domestic shippers additional mode choice and is expected to significantly contribute to the decarbonisation of New Zealand’s supply chain, with coastal shipping already producing the lowest GHG emissions per ton/kilometre,” Pacifica Shipping said in a statement.

“The additional sailings and capacity will assist in mitigating the supply chain disruptions experienced by shippers in New Zealand over the past two years and offer more frequent sailings and schedule reliability.”

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Pacifica Shipping’s announcement follows two other recent developments in the country’s coastal shipping space.

Last week, Maersk announced the launch of a dedicated New Zealand coastal service, and in late May the government committed NZ$30 million to boost the country’s coastal shipping capacity.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand national secretary Craig Harrison said the country’s coastal shipping industry has experienced an “unprecedented turnaround” in the space of a few months.  

“A large part of the credit has to go to the government and minister of transport Michael Wood who has pushed a proactive and positive transport policy to get coastal shipping back in the game after decades of neglect and poor policy,” Mr Harrison said.

He said the allocation of government funding to support four operators to introduce new coastal shipping services – which includes Pacifica Shipping – has been instrumental in kickstarting the sector and has broader benefits for the transport sector and wider society.

“Just to start with, the new shipping services will ease port and road congestion, improve schedule reliability and reduce emissions.”

Mr Harrison said the “big lesson” learned over the last two years is that New Zealand needed its own shipping capability to provide resilience and reliability during volatile global situations.

He said the next goal for the maritime union is to work with industry, government and training providers to build opportunities for young New Zealanders considering a career in the maritime industry.

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