The company that runs the ferry line Spirit of Tasmania has announced plans to move its Victorian operations in a bid to avoid congestion, expand its freight offering and improve the passenger experience.
TT-Line Company has announced operations will move from Station Pier, Port Melbourne to Corio Quay, north of Geelong.
The new 12-hectare dedicated site will include a purpose-designed passenger terminal building, a passenger vehicle marshalling area for 600 cars, more efficient passenger vehicle check-in, security facilities, public amenities, a café, a children's play area and a pet exercise area.
"The company's operations are often negatively impacted by significant congestion in the greater Port Melbourne area, particularly when cruise ships are in port, that causes delays in loading and discharge of passengers," says TT-Line chairman Michael Grainger.
"The company's operations are often negatively impacted by significant congestion in the greater Port Melbourne area, particularly when cruise ships are in port, that causes delays in loading and discharge of passengers."
Grainger says the company's view is that these issues will only worsen in the future.
"Passenger feedback on this part of our operations has been critical, with passengers citing boarding queues of up to two-and-a-half-hours, which in turn impacts the sailing schedule," he says.
"It has had an increasingly negative impact on our ability to deliver the level of service required for efficient operations, and highlighted further potential issues with TT-Line's new Spirit of Tasmania vessels coming on line and construction of associated infrastructure.
Grainger says independent research of passengers identified three key elements that supported a move to Geelong - a location that was easy to get to, ease of check-in procedures and a lack of traffic getting to and from the terminal.
"The Corio Quay solution ticks those three boxes and alleviates all of the current operational constraints that exist at Station Pier," he says.
"A new port base at Geelong is also expected to lead to increased passenger growth that would benefit the Tasmanian tourism industry from secondary markets of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, as well as increased passenger growth from regional Victoria."
He says the company will maintain its "last to leave, first to arrive" freight service.
"The new Geelong facility will feature a dedicated freight terminal, streamlined and segregated passenger and freight entry and exit points, 150 truck parking bays and a 24/7 secure freight yard," he says.
"The new freight yard will enable cargo pick up and drop off at any time, day or night, with access to heavy transport approved roads.
"This will alleviate the current freight constraints of Station Pier which requires freight to be collected immediately on discharge.
"The new facility will be located 40 minutes from 80 per cent of our Victorian -based freight customers and 55 minutes from Melbourne's CBD."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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