Swire Shipping is planning to upgrade its multi-purpose liner services in the South Pacific from June, either with additional or larger vessels.
Swire Shipping is planning to upgrade its multi-purpose liner services in the South Pacific from June, either with additional or larger vessels. The changes, which will benefit the Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands and trans-Tasman trades, follow the introduction of two larger, more modern multi-purpose vessels on the trans-Tasman route at the end of last year. Swire Shipping, the Australian based offshoot of London"s John Swire & Sons, said that as a result of the new tonnage, the three 981 teu Miho-class vessels which have been calling at New Zealand ports on their return from Papua New Guinea to Australia are no longer required.
Consequently, this has freed one of the ships, the 1990-built, 13,568 dwt Papuan Chief, to be deployed as a regular third vessel in the Southeast Asia-Papua New Guinea shuttle service. The addition of the ship, which will be renamed Pacific Trader and start service on June 12 from Singapore, will provide increased port coverage, sailing frequency and transit times.
The two other Miho-class ships, the 21,700 dwt Tasman Chief and Pacific Chief, will be used to upgrade links between Australia and the Pacific Islands with a fortnightly service from Australia and New Zealand to Noumea, capital of New Caledonia. From Noumea, cargo will be feedered fortnightly to Vanuatu and monthly to Tarawa in Kiribati via the Greater Bali Hai service.
The two new vessels, which will augment four existing 914 teu Islander-class ships, will call at four ports in Australia, including Melbourne, Port Kembla and Brisbane, before returning to ports in New Zealand, such as Auckland, via Noumea.
The end of the New Zealand leg of the Australia-Papua New Guinea trade has allowed Swire Shipping to create a piston service that will be integrated with Swire Shipping"s Australia-Papua New Guinea-North Asia service. A total of four 13,500 dwt, 981 teu multi-purpose vessels will increase capacity and frequency between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The combined coverage will provide three sailings a month between Australia and Papua New Guinea, boosting the number of sailings from 30 to 36 a year. At the same time, the frequency of services to the Solomon Islands will be increased from every 20 to every 15 days.
As a result of these changes, transit times for export cargo from Papua New Guinea to Australia will be cut from 27 to 14 days.
Swire Shipping chief executive Ulrich Stelling said: ?The service changes reflect our objective to closely align the tonnage deployed with the current and projected market requirements. We believe that what we are putting in place is a smarter way of using our ships in terms of offering better service products in the region without adding tonnage and fixed costs.?