23 October 2022 marked a significant milestone for Spirit of Tasmania when the inaugural sailing arrived into Spirit of Tasmania Quay in Geelong for the first time.
Spirit of Tasmania Chairman Michael Grainger said the arrival marked the start of a new era in Bass Strait passenger, passenger vehicle and freight transport.
“The Company has been very much looking forward to moving to Geelong from Station Pier, Port Melbourne since the decision to relocate our Victorian operations was first made,” he said. “Equally, the Company has been very pleased to see up close the progress on construction since site preparation works began in 2020 for the new passenger and freight terminal which was officially opened today.”Mr Grainger said he and his Spirit of Tasmania colleagues had enjoyed seeing the precinct evolve in the lead up to the first official arrival and thanked GeelongPort and the countless number of contractors who contributed to the project’s success.“Beyond the excellent work undertaken on the project by both the Spirit of Tasmania and Geelong Port project teams, our first arrival into Geelong did not disappoint,” he said.
“The move to Geelong represents a once in a generation opportunity for Spirit of Tasmania to further enhance the experience of our passengers. The new port home is expected to lead to increased passenger growth from markets in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, as well as increased passenger growth from regional Victoria.” “This expected growth will ultimately benefit Tasmania but we know that the move will also bring great benefits to Geelong and the surrounding regions, particularly for tourism operators.”Mr Grainger said it was also important to consider the move to Geelong alongside the investment the Company was making in two new vessels, Spirit of Tasmania IV and V. “We are not only securing the future of the Company, but Tasmania’s visitor economy and the broader economy,” he said.
Spirit of Tasmania’s freight business is also set to benefit from the move to Geelong.The new freight yard will enable cargo pick up and drop off at any time, day or night, and will greatly assist to alleviate the current freight constraints of Station Pier which required freight to be collected immediately on discharge. In addition, the new facility will be located within 40 minutes from 80 per cent of our Victorian-based freight customers and 55 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD. Spirit of Tasmania will maintain our first to arrive, last to leave service that our freight customers rely on.
“We are excited to finally arrive in Geelong and I sincerely thank the broader Geelong community for the warm welcome we have received here today. We look forward to a prosperous future here in Geelong and look forward to exploring ways to strengthen the connection between our new Victorian home of Geelong and our established home of Tasmania.”