16 April 2021
TT-Line Company Pty Ltd and European shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) have formally signed a contract for the construction of two new roll on / roll off ships to replace the current Spirit of Tasmania vessels.
TT-Line Chairman Michael Grainger said the contract’s signing was a significant event for the company, the state’s tourism and freight industries and the broader Tasmanian economy.
“It is also a significant infrastructure announcement, made more important by the contracts providing the new fit-for-purpose vessels which will feature up to $100 million of local content,” he said.
While the new ships will be a similar roll on / roll off design to Spirit of Tasmania I and II, they will have substantially larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight and support increased operational efficiencies.
Mr Grainger said the new vessels would provide long-term increased capacity for further economic growth of Tasmania.
“The tourism sector is already a highly successful sector that is delivering positive results for the state,” he said.
“Our independent expert modelling for future travel demand on the Spirits projected a continuation of strong passenger growth that will only benefit the tourism industry, particularly in regional areas.
“Similar projections were made for freight and our first-in, last out sailing schedule that perfectly suits the time sensitive freight market.”
Mr Grainger thanked “each and every TT-Line employee” who had worked on the vessel replacement project for their collective efforts and diligent work.
“The company invested many resources over many years into the vessel replacement project,” he said.
“Prior to delivering our first business case to the Tasmanian Government in 2017, the company carefully assessed vessel types and fleet configurations to determine the most appropriate vessel to operate daily crossings on Bass Strait.
“We looked at capacity, customer expectations, operating speed, seakeeping properties for Bass Strait, capital, operating costs and operational efficiency.
“It was a very thorough and detailed process.”
Mr Grainger said the company had been advised by RMC that construction on the new 212-metre-long vessels is planned to start in the European spring.
“Hull one is expected to be delivered in late 2023 while hull two is expected to arrive in Australia in late in 2024 – well within the expected replacement date of 2028,” he said.