NEPTUNE Pacific Direct Line has progressed its acquisition of an 80-metre landing craft for its Norfolk Island shipping service.

NPDL said it finalised the main terms of the acquisition on Friday (11 November).

The new-build vessel is scheduled for delivery from a Malaysian shipyard by late March 2023.

“The vessel has operational flexibility to meet Norfolk Island shipping needs over the long term,” NPDL said in a statement.

“The deck is being prepared for a containerised operation including 10 reefer plugs with devanning on board at the anchorage to the lighters.

“Longer term the vessel will have the ability to perform roll-on roll-off operations.”

NPDL said it plans to operate the vessel on a route calling Brisbane, Norfolk Island, Auckland, Norfolk Island and Brisbane.

The service is scheduled to commence in April.

“This is a significant investment and demonstrates NPDL’s long term commitment to servicing Norfolk Island,” NPDL said.

The Australian government has provided financial support for the Norfolk Island shipping service to address shortages on the island.

NPDL in September announced plans to commence the first of four barge service sailings between Brisbane and Norfolk Island, beginning in November this year.

It said the service would sail on a 30-day rotation until February.