Bell Bay loses out in port plan

A NORTHERN industry group has criticised calls for Burnie to be named Tasmania's principal container port, leaving Bell Bay to deal with bulk freight.

The recommendation was made by the Freight Logistics Advisory Council, which formally released its final report yesterday.

Tasmanian Exporter Group spokesman Bob Gozzi said the proposed single-port strategy underestimated the rate of container growth, and that focusing on Burnie would see Tasmania reach capacity in just over a decade.

The report, compiled by a 20-member expert panel, says Burnie has the capacity for 750,000 containers a year and would be able to meet demand for the next 30 years.

Mr Gozzi said the government should look at a two-port strategy, include Bell Bay in future growth plans and put some money on the table to encourage the return of an international shipping service.

``Bell Bay has been left to one side in favour of Burnie,'' Mr Gozzi said.

Freight Logistics Co-ordination Team chairman Phil Clark said Tasmania needed to put aside parochialism to resolve freight issues.

``There has been a very strong lobby in the North that Bell Bay has to become a container port,'' Mr Clark said. ``It might make sense as a container port for exports, it doesn't make sense as a container port across Bass Strait.''

The state government said it was considering all 25 recommendations and had already accepted eight, including developing a freight strategy by June, $1.25 million in assistance for small to medium sized exporters, working with the Victorian government to lower port costs, and securing a preferred international shipper by early next year. Other recommendations include establishing an ongoing freight advisory body and considering the sale of state-owned infrastructure assets.

Mr O'Byrne said the report showed that the opposition's promise of $11 million a year for three years to attract an international shipper was unnecessary.

However, opposition infrastructure spokesman Rene Hidding said the $11 million figure was selected because ``that's what the shipping company told us would be required'' to service Tasmania.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop