Swire looks to boost Hobart as commercial port

By: Rob McKay

Container shipping company has plans to call at Tasmania’s southern capital

Swire looks to boost Hobart as commercial port
Highland Chief is one of Swire Shipping's latest Chief Class multipurpose ships.


Swire Shipping is aiming to call at Hobart from November 1, in a big turnaround in the city’s fortunes as a working port.

The Tasmanian capital city’s commercial port’s ambitions appeared permanently sunk since the state government’s decision last decade focus on northern ports.

But industry observers say competition amongst transporters and the increasing cost of exporting through the Port of Melbourne and the added burden of double-handling in getting southern goods there has combined to make the idea attractive to Swire.

"Swire Shipping is committed to providing direct international shipping services to Tasmania," Brodie Stevens, country manager for Swire Shipping in Australia, says.

"We have been working closely with our partners to develop this service and are confident that the Tasmanian industry will benefit from the shipping options for international and domestic cargo."

The move should gain the green light from local government to facilitate truck moves to the Macquarie Point wharf area.

A change of mayor is seen as reversing Hobart City Council’s opposition to seeing commercial traffic in the area, which is on the city-centre’s doorstep.

It has been a frustrating time in the region for Swire recently.

The shipping line failed earlier this to come to terms with the Tasmanian government for a subsidised a call to the northern port of Bell Bay.

The Hobart move may also have been boosted by longer and deeper supply chain issues for Swire, stretching into Southeast Asia and relating to Papua New Guinea shipments.

It is understood the port call rotation will be PNG-Melbourne-Hobart-Sydney-Brisbane.

"With a nine-day service frequency, this enhanced network will connect Melbourne to Hobart with a transit time of one day, and link Hobart to Sydney and Brisbane with transit times of two and five days, respectively," Swire says.

"In addition to improving Tasmania’s connection to mainland Australia, Swire Shipping’s network will connect Hobart to global destinations such as Asia, Europe, the Pacific Islands and the United States through transhipment services."

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