The Maritime Transport Act 1994(external link) regulates ship safety, maritime liability, and marine environmental protection. Maritime New Zealand(external link) is responsible for maritime safety and marine pollution prevention and response functions under the Act. The Ministry of Transport administers section 198 of the Act, to do with the carriage of coastal cargo.

The Ministry of Transport also administers the Port Companies Act 1988(external link), which provided for the commercial port facilities of local authorities to be established as port companies.