Swire Shipping deal gives hope to Tassie port


A new international deal between Bell Bay Aluminium and Swire Shipping may signal hope for Tasmanian exporters

Swire Shipping deal gives hope to Tassie port
Swire Shipping deal gives hope to Tassie port

By Anna Game-Lopata | February 22, 2013

A new international deal between Bell Bay Aluminium and Swire Shipping may signal new hope for Tasmanian exporters.

Swire Shipping will provide the aluminium mining, refining and smeltering business with a direct ocean freight service between Bell Bay Port and Asia.

It will be the first time an international container shipping service is offered from the north Tasmanian port since AAA withdrew its service in May 2011.

Bell Bay Aluminium's
contract will
comprise
‘multi-purpose’ vessels capable of both breakbulk and containerised services
which
will travel on a monthly basis to various locations in Asia including Singapore, home of the world’s busiest port.

Beginning late in March, Swire Shipping will carry about half Bell Bay Aluminium’s
Asian-bound containers, with some spare capacity for other Tasmanian exporters.
Melbourne
will continue to receive the rest.

Bell Bay will be included as an additional port on Swire Shipping’s existing Asia Pacific Australiasia service, which includes stops at Newcastle, Brisbane, Gladstone, Townsville and Darwin before heading out to Singapore.

Bell Bay Aluminium General Manager Ray Mostogl says being forced to route freight via Melbourne before it was shipped internationally caused double handling
that added to the company’s costs.


"Over the last 12 months it became clear to us an immediate solution needed to be put in place to address our current freight transport needs while allowing for a longer term solution to be developed for all Tasmanian exporters," Mostogl says.

"In recent years the loss of an international containerised shipping service has resulted in significant increases in costs. This arrangement with Swire Shipping reverses most of those increases."

Tasmanian traders move about 450,000 freight containers into and out of the state, each year - mostly for domestic trade.

Since May 2011, exporters with freight bound to Asia had to re-route their containers via the Port of Melbourne.

The Swire Shipping deal with Bell Bay Aluminium won’t be enough to plug the island state’s freight needs, but
government and exporters welcomed the news.

Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne says the Tasmanian government is looking to build on the momentum
by "working hard with industry on a freight solution that serves all Tasmanian exporters".

"We can't resort to expensive proposals, funded by taxpayers, that only carry 15,000 of those 450,000 containers, and do little or nothing to address the wider challenge and protect jobs," O’Byrne says.

"We need a lasting solution that supports all of those important Tasmanian industries and jobs."

General Manager Swire Shipping Australia Steve Clark
says the company sees Tasmania as an excellent opportunity to grow its business.


"We are committed to working with Bell Bay Aluminium and Tasmanian importers and exporters to provide a sustainable service," Clark says.


"We will be doing our best with the support of customers, service providers and government to make this a long term service to further broaden our coverage in Tasmania.


"An increase in vessel frequency would allow Bell Bay Aluminium to ship more containers internationally via Bell Bay port rather than through Melbourne," he adds.

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