SWIRE Shipping has blamed charter and bunker costs for its decision to exit the Hobart market in September.
In an announcement this week, Swire general manager Jeremy Sutton said the decision followed “an exhaustive internal review”.
“This has been a very difficult decision to take. The steep escalation in charter and bunker costs has made the service commercially unviable,” Mr Sutton said.
“We would like to thank the Tasmanian business community, our valued customers, staff and service providers for their support over the last two years.”
Swire Shipping’s final voyage between Hobart and Melbourne is to be completed in September, albeit an exact date is still to be announced.
“In the meantime, Swire Shipping will work with customers to minimise any inconvenience arising from this decision,” Mr Sutton said.
Tasmanian Logistics Committee chairman Brett Charlton told DCN the decision did not come as a surprise to those observing the balance of shipping services in Tasmania.
Mr Charlton said it was now incumbent upon Tasmanian shippers to maximise and support the Bass Strait coastal shipping services as well as the advantages from the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.
TasPorts general manager corporate affairs Matt Frodsham said Swire Shipping advised them on Monday of their intention to end the Hobart port call.
Nonetheless, Mr Frodsham expressed confidence in the Tasmanian capital’s maritime future.
“Hobart remains a major port,” he said. “In fact TasPorts recently announced plans to update Hobart’s valuable working port facilities as part of its state-wide Port Master Plan.”
Mr Frodsham said customers using Swire’s containerised freight service in Hobart could continue to bulk export logs through the port or use other transport options to move freight through Tasmania’s northern ports.