Logistics News

SeaRoad may cut King Island service

SeaRoad Shipping may cut its weekly King Island service to the Tasmanian mainland when it acquires new vessels: unconfirmed report

By Anna Game-Lopata | September 18, 2012

SupplyChain Review has received an unconfirmed
tip-off SeaRoad Shipping may cut its King Island service to the Tasmanian mainland.

The transport and shipping subsidiary of SeaRoad Holdings provides the sole freight service for importers and exporters, providing vital supplies and freighting much of the island’s iconic
premium produce to the Tasmanian mainland.

With a capacity of 4,000 tonnes, the SeaRoad
Mersey
vessel operates from Webb Dock at the Port of Melbourne in a triangular service, calling into Devonport and then on to the Port of Grassy on a scheduled weekly service.

With the vessel nearing the end of its life, a King Island source tells SupplyChain Review it is believed the company is considering newer vessels unable to dock at the Port of Grassy wharf.

Along with the import of bulk fuel, the export of prime beef cattle
could be impacted.

As reported this week, the closure of the island’s JBS Australia abattoir has left producers struggling for a solution to the significant task of transporting live cattle instead of processed beef.

The source, who does not wish to be identified, says the
replacement vessels SeaRoad allegedly aims to acquire will be larger and more suited to the shipping of live cattle.

“The Mersey is unlikely to be able to manage approximately 900 to 1,000 head of cattle a week that will need to be shipped during peak season,” the source says.

According to King Island Mayor Greg Barratt, the annual transport task is 40,000 head of cattle destined for JBS Australia’s Longford abbatoir near Launceston and Greenhams abbatoir in Tasmania’s north west.

Prior to its closure, the state-of-the-art meatworks, processed 700 young local cattle a week to be sold as prime King Island beef.

Hosted by the Tasmanian state government, a workshop is currently underway on King Island to nut out a solution for transporting peak season cattle to the mainland.

The workshop is attended by relevant stakeholders including beef producers, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, beef processors, shipping companies, transport contractors, King Island Council, and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Representatives from Tasports, the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, and the Department of Economic Development will also participate.

SupplyChain Review sought comment from SeaRoad Shipping, but did not receive a comment by editorial deadline.

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