THE spectacular Spirit of Tasmania vessels soon will be calling at Corio Quay in Geelong rather than Melbourne’s Station Pier, following an agreement between GeelongPort and TT-Line.

GeelongPort CEO Brett Winter said the deal with TT-Line will create major economic, employment and tourism opportunities for Geelong, the Bellarine and the wider G21 region. 

“Bringing the iconic Spirit of Tasmania vessels to GeelongPort is a huge coup for the Geelong region. Each year over 450,000 passengers and 105,000 twenty–foot equivalent units of freight sail with Spirit of Tasmania” Mr Winter said.

“Now more than ever, opportunities to inject new jobs and economic growth into the greater Geelong region are crucial.”

Mr Winter talked of working with stakeholders and achieving planning approvals for a starting date at some point in 2022.

The project is expected to generate up to 75 construction jobs over the two year build program.

The proposed solution at Corio Quay, in Geelong’s north, would provide a dedicated, large scale passenger and freight terminal.

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While a lot further away from the bright lights of Melbourne, proponents point out its strengths including easy access to the Princes Highway and Freeway, proximity to two rail stations, and 15 minutes’ drive  from Avalon Airport and 50 minutes from the Great Ocean Road. 

The new 12-hectare site is to include a purpose-built passenger terminal building, a passenger vehicle marshalling area for 600 cars, more efficient passenger vehicle check in, security facilities, public amenities, crew accommodation, a cafe, children’s play area and a pet exercise area.

“Whether it be passengers or freight, GeelongPort have designed a solution to optimize the overall port experience, whilst providing unprecedented flexibility and value to Spirit of Tasmania and their customers,” he said.

“Working with TT-Line, the Victorian government and the City of Greater Geelong Council, we’ll develop a plan to ensure there’s appropriate infrastructure to support the increase in traffic and minimise any potential disruption to our customers and the local community during both construction and operational phases”.

Mr Winter said bringing the iconic Spirit of Tasmania vessels to Geelong was “another example of how GeelongPort is continuing to drive the prosperity of the region”.

DCN reported earlier in the year how the owner of TT-Line, the Tasmanian government, was unhappy with fees it was being charged at Station Pier.

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