BELL Bay will regain an international shipping service after nearly two years without one - an absence that delivered crippling freight bills to Tasmanian exporters.
This morning Bell Bay Aluminium will announce a new "multipurpose" freight service to Asia with Singapore-based Swire Shipping.
Tasmania has been without an international shipping courier since AAA withdrew from Bell Bay in early 2011.
The new Swire service won't be enough to plug all the holes in the state's freight needs, but the news was welcomed by government and exporters.
It is understood Swire will run a monthly service from Bell Bay that will carry 200 to 300 containers once Bell Bay Aluminium's freight is loaded.
This will account for about 10 to 15 per cent of what is actually needed.
The announcement was greeted with bipartisan support yesterday.
"This is great news for Pacific Aluminium and Tasmanian exporters, and shows what hard work, patience and good commercial bargaining can achieve," Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne said.
Mr O'Byrne is yet to deliver a solution to the lack of shipping at Bell Bay but has referred the matter to a newly established freight taskforce.
A spokesman for Mr O'Byrne said no government funding was going to the Swire Shipping contract.
"This arrangement shows that if exporters can back in the volumes required, there are shipping companies willing to service the Tasmanian market," Mr O'Byrne said.
Opposition infrastructure spokesman Rene Hidding said it was good news for Bell Bay Aluminium and the North.
"Unfortunately, it doesn't address the broader international freight task, which is why we have a clear policy to make sure that all Tasmanian businesses can export internationally," he said.
Bell Bay Aluminium declined to comment until the official announcement.
Swire Shipping's current South-East Asia multipurpose route calls in to Newcastle, Brisbane, Gladstone, Townsville and Darwin before heading to Singapore - home of the world's busiest port.
Swire Shipping is owned by the China Navigation Company.