Monday 20th Nov, 2017

Better facilities needed to attract more Antarctic shipping to Hobart

Photo: Hobart Ports Corporation and Digital Ink
Photo: Hobart Ports Corporation and Digital Ink

TASPORTS said its Hobart facilities may struggle to meet demand for more Antarctic support activities, according to its recent submission to a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s Antarctic Territory.

The submission says attracting more Antarctic traffic to Hobart (as opposed to ports in New Zealand and South Africa) is likely contingent on infrastructure and supply chain improvements.

“In the absence of adequate port and refuelling capabilities in Hobart, efforts to attract other nations to stage their Antarctic activities out of Tasmania are unlikely to succeed,” the submission read.

“The continuing improvement of the Macquarie Point port facilities is therefore critically important.”

It went on to point out that there is a possibility that future demand from Antarctic and other vessels might increase beyond the optimum level that existing wharf facilities can support.

“This situation will need to be addressed, or else Hobart’s continuing role as a gateway for Antarctic shipping will be under threat,” the submission read.

The parliamentary inquiry was launched in June this year to examine the infrastructure assets and capability in Australia’s Antarctic Territory.

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories is running the inquiry. It is considering, among other things, “international engagement, including collaboration and resource sharing with other countries”.

Committee chair Ben Morton MP said the inquiry was timely, with 2017 marking the 60th anniversary of Australia’s Davis Research Station on the frozen continent.

“The last time the Committee considered Australia’s role in Antarctica was in 2005,” he said.

“Significant advancement in scientific capability and technology since the Committee’s previous inquiry provides an opportunity for renewed focus on Australia’s Antarctic assets and capabilities into the future.”

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