Uncertainty over the future of shipping services to King Island has been laid to rest with the intervention of the state government.
State-owned company TasPorts will provide a freight service between Devonport and Grassy at least once a week from April 2.
SeaRoad had been providing an interim service after it was revealed in December the replacement to its SeaRoad Mersey ship was too large for King Island’s Grassy Port.
State infrastructure minister Rene Hidding said TasPorts’ involvement had “become necessary following the failure of the commercial market to offer a reliable and affordable shipping service at this point in time”.
Mr Hidding said this was only a medium-term solution.
“In the longer term, the Tasmanian Government remains committed to the establishment of a triangular service between King Island, Tasmania and Victoria,” he said.
Mr Hidding and Infrastructure Tasmania CEO Alan Garcia traveled to King Island on Wednesday to meet with mayor Duncan McFie and other stakeholders.
Cr McFie said the service demonstrated that “when they (Mr Hidding and Mr Garcia) say something they keep their word and deliver”.
“They have found a solution to a very difficult challenge,” Cr McFie said.
Details about the service including sailings dates, trans-shipment matters and livestock arrangements will be discussed with customers in the weeks ahead.
TasPorts will use a hired ship while looking for a permanent vessel to use.