Government investment in New Zealand's "blue highway" would fit nicely with Whanganui's port redevelopment plan, mayor Hamish McDouall says.
The Government has signalled it intends to pump more money into developing coastal shipping facilities, with Transport Minister Phil Twyford saying on Tuesday a funding announcement would be made before next year's election.
Twyford signalled the Government's intentions to develop coastal shipping alongside rail.
"There is a lot of freight that can actually be shifted on the blue highway and so we want to get roads, rail and coastal shipping working together in an integrated way."
The Government announced in the Budget it would spend $1 billion on New Zealand's rail network.
Although none of the $1b was going into coastal shipping, the Government has an announcement planned in this area.
"We're working on it, and we'll get back to you on that," Twyford said.
McDouall said a boost for coastal shipping would be good for Whanganui where the coastal carrier Anatoki has been a regular user of the port since 2008. Barges had also been using the port following the Kaikōura earthquake which knocked out South Island road and rail links.
"I welcome a review of all the transport options, whether it's roading, rail or coastal shipping or even air freight," McDouall said.
"We need to be a bit realistic about everything coming through Whanganui. I think it will be a regional freight network rather than a national freight network for Whanganui but certainly it has potential.
"It's nice that they're reviewing the status of ports and that fits in very nicely with our port redevelopment plan."
The Whanganui District Council has allocated $12.3 million for work on wharves 2 and 3 at the port in 2019-20 and will soon apply to the Provincial Growth Fund for a Government contribution to the port infrastructure. Horizons Regional Council has programmed repair work on the north and south moles.