Commerce Minister Craig Foss announced on the Beehive website(external link) on April 8 that international shipping to and from New Zealand will be regulated under the Commerce Act. This is intended to improve oversight and to deliver competitive outcomes for exporting industries.

Mr Foss says the changes agreed to by Cabinet will remove the 25-year-old sea shipping regulatory regime and bring the industry into line with general competition law.

“New Zealand is well-served by international shipping operators, with 18 companies operating here, but the current industry-specific regime is outdated and no longer appropriate.”

The changes will be introduced through the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, currently before the Commerce Select Committee. The Committee is due to report back to Parliament by May 14.

“By bringing international shipping services under the Commerce Act, we are ensuring there is effective oversight of an industry vital to our exporters,” Mr Foss says.

“The Government’s Business Growth Agenda lays out our ambitious goal to increase the ratio of exports to GDP to 40 per cent by 2025. A healthy, competitive and well-regulated shipping industry is an important part of achieving this.

“This Bill promotes economic growth by enabling pro-competitive collaboration between firms, while also deterring hard-core cartel conduct.”

The Productivity Commission report into international freight transport services, tabled in April 2012, recommended strengthening regulation of competition for international sea freight and air freight services.

Work is continuing on the regulation of competition in international air services. A review of the Civil Aviation Act – the current regulatory regime for international air services – is being undertaken by the Ministry of Transport to consider impacts on passengers and concerns of stakeholders. Recommendations will be made to the Minister of Transport by mid November.


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