By Agility Logistics Tasmanian General Manager Brett Charlton

I found myself standing an inch taller on the 17th of February 2019 when the new Toll vessel – Tasmanian Achiever II – was officially named in Burnie.

A sausage sizzle and face painting marquee on the wet deck mixed with the sounds of a Brass band set the scene for familiar faces (and their families) of the Tasmanian logistics scene to witness the successful launch of a bottle of Tassie bubbles and shatter into a million pieces – successfully ticking off the “good luck” superstition.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Will Hodgman, along with Mayors, Chairmen, Captains and other titles mixed with all on board and sang the national anthem with pride – one of those moments when the industry comes together to pay homage to a moment in time that showcases just how important the shipping and logistics world is and how the commitment to prepare for the future is being invested in heavily by those that cater for the growth in trade.

Adding approximately 46% additional capacity to the Toll service, there is no question that these new vessels (the Tasmanian Achiever II and the Victorian Reliance II) will go a long way to “future proof” Tasmania.

Coupled with the Searoad’s investment of last year and another new vessel to come as well as the new TT Line vessels in coming years the question of capacity should be a moot issue for a few years at least – in fact, if we are complaining about capacity in ten years’ time then we are having a great growth problem to consider.

Again acknowledging the great work going into the securing of the freight task for Tasmania – over coffees and whiskies around the State, the conversation invariably turns to pricing.

The costs of Australian wages (crew and terminal) along with investment returns (A$172M of new vessel) will need to be recovered and constant increases in costs in fuel mixed with infrastructure surcharges etcetera, will be the narrative by the commercial arm of the carriers across Bass Strait.

However, prices for airfares drops when there are spare seats. It will indeed be an interesting year for Tasmania and I am confident that whatever the questionable outstandings are, the bottom line is that Tasmania is in a better place regardless with two shiny new green ships going across the 369KM’s of H2O and salt that is our natural moat protecting us from the congested highways of the big island!