Hon Craig Foss, Minister of Commerce, has confirmed changes to shipping regulation in New Zealand.  In particular, the existing 25 year old regulatory regime (contained in the Shipping Act 1987) will be removed and shipping regulation will be placed under the Commerce Act 1986.  The change has been driven by a number of factors, including:

  • a Productivity Commission report into international freight transport that recommends strengthening regulation of competition for international sea freight;
  • the Government's Business Growth Agenda which sets a goal of increasing the ratio of exports to GDP to 40% by 2025; and
  • a general attempt to improve oversight and ensure competitive outcomes for exporting industries.

The change is to be implemented by Supplementary Order Paper to the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.  The Bill is currently before the Commerce Select Committee.  The specific changes are:

  • To repeal section 44(2) of the Commerce Act which provides that Part 2 prohibitions do not apply to international shipping.
  • To repeal Part 1 of the Shipping Act which contains the regime under which competition in international shipping is currently regulated.

Despite its late introduction through an SOP, the Commerce Committee did consider public submissions on the matter after it made an interim report to the House outlining the Minister's now adopted proposal.  There are similar changes expected for air freight services, as detailed in the interim report.

For further information, including the Commerce Committee's interim report, please see here.