The Bass Island Line (BIL) service carried almost 25 per cent more tonnes of freight in 2021-22 compared to the previous financial year, highlighting the importance of the regular weekly shipping service to the King Island community.
The result, which was disclosed in the TasPorts Annual Report 2021-22 tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament earlier this week, highlights that 42,792 tonnes of freight was transported on the BIL vessel John Duigan during the reporting period, up from 34,296 tonnes in 2020-21. Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) increased from 2500 last financial year to 3258 this year.
BIL Chairman Stephen Bradford said the company was strongly committed to the King Island community and its economy, demonstrated by the delivery of a regular weekly service between mainland Tasmania and the island.
“In early March 2022, we transitioned to a weekly service between King Island and Devonport and introduced a seamless transhipping service between Devonport and Victoria for customers. This new service is clearly meeting the needs of our customers with the significant increase in freight carried,” he said.
“In the final quarter of 2021/22, the average number of TEUs carried increased to 1307, an increase of 723 TEUs or 123 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2020/21.
“Shipping services and connections are ultimately determined by the needs of the cargo owner.
“The strong preference of cargo owners for a Tasmanian-focused service was demonstrated by a decline in direct cargo volumes to and from Victoria and the rapid take-up of the Devonport call.”
Mr Bradford said the transition to Devonport as the Tasmanian port call had also enabled BIL to resume livestock transport.
“While the financial result for BIL was a loss of $2.2 million, it was a significant improvement compared to the $4.4 million loss in 2020-21,” he said.
“While the after-tax result was positively impacted by the recovery of $1.1 million from a prior year insurance claim, the support the service is receiving from cargo owners after the restructure is gratifying.”