One of the newest and largest vessels in the Höegh Autoliners’ fleet visited Newcastle on Friday 14 August, as the port continues to diversify its trade to underpin a stable future for the Hunter economy.

Höegh Tracer is a 200-metre roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessel – part of Höegh’s modern New Horizon fleet – featuring 14 decks and more than 71,000m3 of cargo space.

On board was a range of heavy equipment and machinery – including one of the largest excavators in the world – bound for customers in regional New South Wales.

The vessel also transported a large mechanical screener – a piece of mining machinery used to sort granular material – and cargo from Western Australia taken by ship rather than by road or rail.

The vessel is designed to transport passenger and commercial vehicles, large equipment and heavy machinery, which is efficiently loaded and unloaded using long ramps specifically designed to reduce the impact on the quayside.

In May, another ro-ro vessel, Triton Ace, visited the port to deliver a number of large pieces of mining machinery headed for customers in the Hunter Region and to load export cargo. 

With room for the equivalent of 8500 standard cars, Höegh Tracer has more cargo capacity than Triton Ace but is the same length.

The latest ro-ro shipment comes as the Port pursues an ambitious diversification plan to secure trade opportunities in new markets and deliver efficient, cost-effective supply chain alternatives for Australia’s importers and exporters.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the organisation was well-placed to help stimulate the local economy and was exploring new trade opportunities to boost the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

“As a major global trading gateway, we have an important role to play in helping local businesses access import and export markets,” Mr Carmody said.

“We are exploring new trade opportunities to diversify the economy and create new jobs within the region.

“Our unique capabilities give us a real competitive advantage – we have a deepwater shipping channel, capacity to double trade volumes, available portside land, and berth-side connections to freight rail and road networks. These are capabilities few ports in Australia can match.

“The port has incredible potential and it is our responsibility to help realise it in a safe and sustainable way for the benefit of current and future generations.”

The port’s Executive Manager Business Development, Paul Brown, welcomed the partnership with Höegh Autoliners and other supply chain partners.

“We are working with supply chain partners to better understand their needs and are exploring ways the port can deliver more efficient and cost-effective solutions across a range of cargo,” Mr Brown said.

Nicky Colaço, Höegh Autoliners Sales Manager in Australia said: “Port of Newcastle offers customers in the agriculture, mining and construction industry a convenient option to transport cargo closer to destinations in regional NSW and the Hunter Valley.”

“Together with the New Horizon vessel series, with a ramp capacity of 375 metric tonnes, we have brought added confidence to our customers who want to transport their over-dimensional cargo to an accessible location and great facility on the East Coast of Australia.”

LINX Port Services Executive General Manager Vince Trotter said: “LINX Port Services proudly partners with our long-term national customer, Höegh Autoliners, to safely handle all types of ro-ro cargo and static machinery at regional ports like the port of Newcastle.”

“Together, we are optimistic about coastal trade growth opportunities and delivering cost effective solutions for customers, industry stakeholders and encouraging trade through the port to the greater Newcastle region.”

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