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StraitNZ Limited
IndustryPassenger and freight shipping, freight forwarding and logistics
PredecessorStrait Shipping, Streamline Freight, Freight Lines
FounderJim Barker and Dennis Dow[1]
HeadquartersWellington, New Zealand
Area served
New Zealand
RevenueNZ$175 million (2021)
NZ$45 million (2021)
Number of employees
500 (2021)
ParentMorgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners (2022-present)
StraitNZ Freight Forwarding
StraitNZ Linehaul

StraitNZ (formerly Strait Shipping Limited and Bluebridge) is a New Zealand transport firm that operates roll-on/roll-off freight and passenger shipping across the Cook Strait, between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island, as well as trucking and logistics services across New Zealand.[2]

Originally a freight-only service, passenger services commenced in 2002 and currently operate under the Bluebridge brand.[3][4] As of 2021, Bluebridge holds 56% of the market for vehicle freight and 31% of the market for passenger services across Cook Strait.[5]

The company was acquired on March 31, 2022 by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.[6]


The company has its origins in Otorohanga Transport, founded by Jim Barker and Dennis Dow in 1963.[1]

Inter-island ferry operations began in 1992 as Strait Shipping Limited,[4] as a way for Barker to provide more affordable inter-island ferry services for his trucking group. Ferries between the North and South Islands of New Zealand were then monopolised by the Interisland Line, owned by the then state-owned enterprise New Zealand Rail Limited (renamed Tranz Rail in 1995). As of 2022, the two companies still hold a duopoly on interisland ferry services.

As well as operating across the Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton, Strait Shipping has in the past also operated freight shipping between Wellington and Napier, also in the North Island, and Nelson and Lyttelton in the South Island.

Bluebridge was launched as the passenger service brand of Strait Shipping in 2003.[7]

In 2016, Strait Shipping was sold to Australian-based[8] Champ Private Equity Group.[7] At the same time, Champ Group also purchased trucking companies Freight Lines and Streamline Freight, which had both been separately owned by the Barker family.[7] At the time, the trucking and ferry companies owned by the Barker family were estimated to employ around 750 people.

On 29 March 2018 Strait Shipping Limited was renamed StraitNZ,[9] with passenger services continuing to operate under the Bluebridge brand.[2] Sister companies Freight Lines and Streamline [7] were rebranded as "StraitNZ Linehaul" and "StraitNZ Freight Forwarding"[2] respectively. That year, a 25% stake in the company was acquired by Macquarie.

In December 2021, the StraitNZ Group was sold by Champ Private Equity and Macquarie to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, for a reported sale price of NZ$500 million.[10] The acquisition was completed in March 2022.

As of 2021, StraitNZ’s Bluebridge ferry unit was reported to have a 56% market share for Cook Strait vehicle freight, and a 31% market share for passenger services. The remaining share is held by Interislander, a subsidiary of New Zealand Government-owned KiwiRail.[5]


Current fleet[edit]

Name Image Shipyard Launched Entered service Port of registry Tonnage Notes
Straitsman Straitsman Ferry.JPG Netherlands Volharding Shipyards, Harlingen, Netherlands 2005 2010 New Zealand Wellington, New Zealand 13,906 GT Entered service with Strait Shipping in 2010, and was renamed Straitsman in recognition of Strait Shipping's first vessel, which was in service for 11 years from when the company first launched in 1992.[11]
Strait Feronia Strait Feronia Wellington En Route to Picton (26693776091) (cropped).jpg Italy Cantiere Navale Visentini, Porto Viro, Italy 1997 2015 New Zealand Wellington, New Zealand 21,856 GT [11]
Connemara Italy Cantiere Navale Visentini, Porto Viro, Italy 2007 2023 The Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas 27,414 GT Planned[12]

Historic fleet[edit]

Name Image Shipyard Launched Entered service Retired from service Tonnage Notes
Straitsman Australia NQEA Australia, Cairns, Australia 1972 1992 2004 1,481 GT Strait Shipping's first vessel. Used to transport livestock, Straitsman launched Strait Shipping's service across Cook Strait between Wellington, Picton and Nelson. In service until replaced by Santa Regina in 2002.[11]
Suilven The Stornoway ferry off Ullapool - - 1552974.jpg Norway Moss Verft, Moss, Norway 1974 1995 2004 3,638 GT [11]
Kent Japan Ishikawajima-Harima Shipyard, Tokyo, Japan 1977 2001 2010 6,862 GT [11]
Santa Regina Bluebridge Santa Regina in Picton 20100121 4.jpg France Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre, Le Havre, France 1985 2002 2015 14,588 GT [11]
Monte Stello Monte Stello one of Bluebridges interisland ferries -Picton harbour, New Zealand-15Oct2010.jpg France Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre, Le Havre, France 1979 2006 2010 11,630 GT Lost power in Tory Channel on 2 May 2008.[11][13]


  1. ^ a b Charles Riddle (9 September 2016). "Obituary: Transport giant Jim Barker's legacy will be felt for decades to come". Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Strait NZ – Our Story". Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Bluebridge – About Us". Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b "The Strait Shipping story". Strait Shipping. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b "John Haddock's CPE Capital sells Jaybro, StraitNZ for $1.1b". Australian Financial Review. 21 December 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners Completes Investment in StraitNZ Holdings Limited". Business Wire. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Chloe Winter (6 December 2016). "New Zealand transport companies sold, new owner eyes growth". Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Australian Company Buys Cook Strait Ferries". Otago Daily Times. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Particulars of Name Change". Companies Office. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  10. ^ "StraitNZ owner sells ferry and freightforwarding business - reports". RNZ. 22 December 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Our Company - Bluebridge". Retrieved 20 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Stena RoRo's CONNEMARA reportedly off to a new life with New Zealand's StraitNZ's Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries". Shippax. Halmstad. 11 November 2022. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  13. ^ "Passenger Ferry Monte Stello, Loss of Power, Tory Channel, 2 May 2008". Transport Accident Investigation Commission. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2019.

External links[edit]