Smelter makes freight deal

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 21 Februari 2013 | 19.55

A NEW international shipping service will boost the viability of one of Tasmania's largest private employers -- Bell Bay Aluminium.

The service, however, offers little relief for other Tasmanian exporters who have been forced to ship goods to market via Melbourne since the withdrawal of the state's last international shipping service in 2011.

A contract signed between Pacific Aluminium, which operates Bell Bay, and Swire Shipping will freight service to northern Tasmania once a month, travelling to Australia via New Zealand and Asia.

Swire's newly built ships will carry large aluminium slabs as bulk cargo in the hold, as well as smaller ingots in containers on deck.

Pacific Aluminium general manager Ray Mostogl said the new service, due to start later next month, would reverse most of cost increases incurred when the previous shipping service was withdrawn.

It would have a positive impact on the viability of the smelter, which last year negotiated an energy package with the State Government in an effort to keep its operation in Tasmania.

"Global aluminium business is still a tough business to be in, compounded by the Australian dollar. There is a relentless drive to reduce costs," Mr Mostogl said.

Swire will also offer limited space to other Tasmanian exporters interested in exporting bulk cargo or containers to NZ and Asia.

A campaign, backed by the Tasmanian Opposition, to attract an international container service to cater for a broader range of Tasmanian exporters is continuing.

The State Government has also set up a Freight Logistics Co-ordination Team to help develop an industry-led solution to the island's freight woes.

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