Australia-based shipping group ASP Ships Group (ASP) has acquired a 50 per cent shareholding in New Zealand’s Coastal Bulk Shipping Ltd (CBS).

CBS is the owner and operator of MV Anatoki, a small general bulk cargo vessel that has operated around the New Zealand coast since 2008.

Doug Smith, CBS General Manager, welcomed ASP to CBS and said that “ASP will greatly assist the company to further explore and develop a number of opportunities” that have been identified recently. “With ASP as a major shareholder, CBS will have important and key access to a strong network of marine logistics, ship management and technical support services through ASP’s network of offices in New Zealand, Australia and worldwide,” he added.

David Borcoski, ASP Ships Group CEO, said that “the acquisition of 50 per cent of CBS is a strategic one with ASP and CBS combining their core strengths and focused on developing the NZ coastal bulk shipping trades.”  “Coastal shipping is an environmentally friendly transport mode on a tonne/kilometre basis and we will work closely with current and future customers to provide both a resilient and an environmental friendly footprint to their bulk shipping task.”

As a young country with developing infrastructure, New Zealand was built on coastal ships using smaller ports. As road and rail developed, freight gradually moved from the sea until the last bulk ships stopped operating on the New Zealand coast approximately 35 years ago.

The demand for road transport has been increasing faster than the growth in population. This has put New Zealand’s roads under increased pressure. It is anticipated that total freight movements on the transport system will more than double by 2040.

Anatoki is said to represent a change in New Zealand shipping — the return of the coastal bulk freighter.

With a loaded draft of 4.2 meters, the Anatoki is able to negotiate shallow harbours such as Wanganui, Westport and Greymouth . This allows it to pickup/discharge its cargoes closer to their source/destination, reducing road haulage components of the cargo’s movement and in doing so reducing costs.