Visit to the Straitsman with Chris Bishop and Paul Foster-Bell
Last week I joined colleagues Chris Bishop and Paul Foster-Bell on a visit to the Straitsman. Bluebridge was formed to solve problems transporting freight - particularly livestock - between the North and South Islands. It was interesting to hear the history of how the sea freight company came together and the Byzantine labour market they had to operate within in the early 90's.
People might see the Bluebridge operation as passenger movement with some freight added on, yet it would probably be more accurate to describe the ships as freight transporters which also take passengers. The ship is a 'round the clock' operation and while it might sail only between Wellington and Picton the continuous operations mean that the crew live aboard the ship for two weeks at a time.
Along with the opportunity for us to witness first hand ship operations in action, it was also an opportunity for Bluebridge, as a member of the New Zealand Shipping Federation, to give us some feedback on the regulation of coastal shipping in New Zealand and how it might help to support economic development across the regions.