THE first ro-ro vessel to visit Port of Newcastle since 2013 is being hailed as a win for the entire Hunter Valley region.

The 200-metre Triton Ace, capable of carrying up to 6500 cars, docked in Newcastle on the morning of Friday 8 May.

Triton Ace delivered several large pieces of mining machinery and the shipment is the first of two ro-ro calls in two months.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the organisation was looking at ways to help stimulate the local economy.

“A lot of local businesses are doing things pretty tough at the moment. We are committed to helping the region to grow and get people back on their feet as the recovery begins,” Mr Carmody said.

“There are thousands of people newly out of work and all of us need to look at ways we can create more jobs, more investment and a better economy than the one we started this crisis with.”

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Port acting executive manager business development, Matthew Swan, welcomed the partnership with Höegh Autoliners and others.

“It makes sense for equipment heading to our region, whether the Central Coast, Hunter Valley or agricultural customers further afield in regional NSW, to come via Newcastle and reduce unnecessary truck movements,” Mr Swan said.

Höegh Autoliners’ Australian sales manager, Nicky Colaço, said a regular service to Newcastle would support its regional NSW and Hunter Valley customers.

“With the capability to berth at the Port of Newcastle, it will not only help the company expand its shipping routes but also offer customers in the agriculture, mining and construction industry an alternate option to bring cargo closer to its destination,” Mr Colaço said.

Port of Newcastle has hired shipping consultant Richard Bailey, from Loch and Quay Consulting, to engage with industry and inform the port’s planning and design as it seeks to diversify trade.

“Investment and planning now will ensure the Port emerges as a serious participant in this vital supply chain into the future,” Mr Bailey said.

The next ro-ro vessel, Hoegh Trove, is due at Newcastle on Sunday 12 July.

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