A DIRECT shipping service between Tasmania and New Zealand commenced last week.

The launch of the new service was marked as general cargo vessel Muntgracht received the first shipload of cargo at Port of Devonport.  

The new service will operate out of Port of Devonport and will initially call Nelson, Bluff and Timaru in New Zealand.

Minister for trade Jeremy Rockliff said other New Zealand ports will be included on the service as required and as demand calls for.

“It is a major boost for Tasmanian businesses who are already shipping to our trans-Tasman neighbour as well as those seeking expansion opportunities as it means cargo will no longer have to stop and be rehandled at the Port of Melbourne,” Mr Rockliff said.

“Importantly, this new direct shipping route will reduce costs, time and complexities which allows our exporters to focus on what they do best and become more globally competitive.

“It will also mean Tasmanians have direct access to New Zealand’s products via return journeys.”

The Tasmanian government is supporting the route as part of the government’s so-called “trade mission” to New Zealand.

Netherlands-flagged Muntgracht will transport cargo for Tasmanian company BioMar, which produces supplies fish feed for salmon, trout, prawns and other farmed marine species.

TasPorts said BioMar’s export from Devonport is a shipload of fish feed bags bound for New Zealand.

“The direct trans-shipping route has been highly anticipated and will ensure faster and more efficient processes for the producer and the customer in New Zealand,” TasPorts said.

“The new route will provide the opportunity for Tasmanian exporters to reach new markets, reduce costs, time and complexities allowing them to focus on what they do best, and become more competitive globally.”