A REGULAR container service to Newcastle commenced this month.

The service, operated by Neptune Pacific Direct Lines, will call Newcastle monthly along with Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Suva, Lautoka, Apia, Pago Pago and Nuku’Alofa.

Port of Newcastle executive manager business development Matthew Swan said the service formally kicked off with the arrival of NPDL container vessel Capitaine Dampier on Saturday 16 September. The vessel exchanged import and export containers.

“We see this new service as an important step in growing container trade at the Port of Newcastle and in completing the missing link in the supply chain for growers, farmers and producers in north-western NSW, looking to access South Pacific markets or even transhipment opportunities,” Mr Swan said.

“Around one third of NSW container exports originate in the Hunter and north west and we know agribusinesses in these areas in particular have been vocal in wanting a complete and more efficient agricultural supply chain solution.

Mr Swan said one of the direct benefits of exporting through the port’s expanded multipurpose terminal is the ability for customers to be able to pick up empty containers from the berth-side storage area, have them delivered and packed on site before returning them to the port for export.

“This will not only mean significant savings in landside costs for customers, but an all-round more efficient and convenient service, which is further enhanced by the Port’s two on berth Liebherr LHM 550 Mobile Harbour Cranes and direct access to national heavy road and rail networks,” Mr Swan said.

The next scheduled visits at Newcastle for the service are on 14 October, with the Capitaine Tasman and then the Capitaine Tupaia on 11 November.