Tasmania Prepares For New Spirits

Eric Abetz, Minister for Transport

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has taken further steps to ensure the Devonport port redevelopment remains on track to meet its goals.

In an exciting development, the first of the new Spirit of Tasmania ships has successfully completed the first trial run in the open seas off Finland.

Minister for Transport, Eric Abetz, said that while there is still further work to be done before the vessel is in service, this is an important and welcome step forward.

"All going well, we expect that the first of the new ships will be ready for delivery in Q3 of 2024, commencing its journey to Tasmania not long after," Minister Abetz said.

"TT-Line has also now finalised the procurement process for the Berth 3 redevelopment, with a new preferred contractor now secured."

Following recent advice, shareholder Ministers, Michael Ferguson, and Eric Abetz, have formally directed TT-Line and TasPorts to take all the necessary action in relation to the berthing projects at Devonport Port, ensuring the appropriate portside infrastructure is in place to support the arrival of our new ships.

TasPorts will undertake additional and immediate works to Berths 1 and 2 at Devonport Port to ensure suitable berthing is available in time for the arrival of the first new Spirit of Tasmania ship.

The move follows recent advice from TT-Line of projected delays in the completion of the Berth 3 project which confirmed it would not be ready until January 2026.

TT-Line has advised the Government that the latest total cost estimate for the development of Berth 3 project is approximately $375 million, including costs already incurred to date. The revision is due to a global increase in materials and construction costs.

Minister for Infrastructure, Michael Ferguson, said that pre-caretaker, there was a preferred contractor in place and a public commitment by TT-Line that the new berth would be ready.

"The decision to rescind the preferred-contractor status was a unilateral decision taken by TT-Line within its responsibilities due to cost escalations," Minister Ferguson said.

"The Government's position remains that appropriate berthing must be in place at Devonport to support the arrival of our new ships.

"This expectation extends to TT-Line ensuring that appropriate fuelling arrangements are in place to support the new vessels both at Berth 1 and Berth 3."

The Tasmanian Government will also provide enhanced oversight of both berthing projects, with TT-Line and TasPorts required to provide full and immediate advice throughout the projects to shareholder Ministers, including any advice relating to the timing, delivery and cost of the vessels.

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