PRIME Minister Scott Morrison and Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman were in Burnie on Sunday for the official naming ceremony of Toll’s new ship, Tasmanian Achiever II.

Tasmanian Achiever II is understood to be the largest general cargo ship to fly the Australian flag and is set to enter service on 1 March, carrying goods between Melbourne and Burnie.

The 210-metre vessel is to be the first of two new ships commissioned by Toll to carry freight across Bass Strait, increasing Toll’s capacity by more than 40% on each voyage.

Toll executive general manager Steve Borg said this was “a major milestone for Australian shipping with Tasmanian Achiever II providing capacity to meet anticipated demand for the next two decades”.

“The Australian economy, and in particular Tasmania, will be the real winner with greater certainty around the timely transport of goods, providing opportunity for producers and manufacturers to increase output and provide more jobs,” Mr Borg said.

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The ship is also expected to produce less emissions, an important factor with new IMO regulations coming into place from 1 January, 2020. Tasmanian Achiever II has on-board scrubbers that filter emissions.

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman spoke at the naming ceremony, thanking Toll for their $311m investment in improving the Bass Strait trade, including $35m to upgrade wharf facilities at Burnie.

“Toll Group is a major employer in Tasmania, and are a vital link in the supply chain, which ensures that not only our world class produce can reach our expanding markets both domestically and internationally but Tasmanian businesses and communities have a reliable link for inward goods,” Premier Hodgman said.

“Tasmania has what the world wants, and the Tasmanian Government is committed to opening new markets and opportunities for Tasmania’s exporters,” he said.

“Toll’s investment in Tasmania’s export future is a great recognition of the strength of our economy and export sector.”

Mr Borg said they appreciated the support of the local Burnie community.

In port, the Tasmanian Achiever II, as well as the Victorian Reliance which will shortly begin operations also, will connect to the local power grid, cutting out the need to generate power from its diesel engines.

Tasmanian Achiever II will replace Tasmanian Achiever I, when the 20-year-old ship is retired from the route it has plied successfully for the last two decades.

The new ship is to make the 396 km Bass Strait crossing between Melbourne and Burnie in 13 hours, an hour faster than its predecessor.

Tasmanian Achiever II’s identical sister ship, Victorian Reliance II is to be named at a ceremony at Toll’s wharf in Webb Dock at Melbourne.

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