By James Wells

SYDNEY: Bulky goods suppliers could transport products for 40 per cent cheaper than by rail using the first Australian-owned and manned coastal container ship to operate locally for 20 years.

The newly-built 173 metre Boomerang I features a capacity of 1740 twenty foot containers and will initially operate between Sydney-Melbourne-Fremantle-Sydney with feasibility studies being undertaken to include services to both Adelaide and Hobart.

According to the owners of the business, the service is already backed by some of the largest transport and freight forwarding companies in the country which promises to deliver competitive pricing at a 40 per cent discount compared to rail transport.

“One of the major reasons for operating an Australian flagged and crewed coastal shipping service is to give back control of domestic coastal freight movements to Australian interests which in turn gives certainty of service, creates employment for Australians and assists with the security of our ports and coastline,” said Pan Australia Shipping managing director, Paull Van Oost.

“Such a service will offer non-time critical domestic freight a genuine and reliable alternative to both the rail and road networks.”

According to Van Oost, the Boomerang project has been developed over the last decade and is fully supported by the maritime unions, federal and state governments as well as the Department of Transport and Regional Services.

A second vessel, called Boomerang II will arrive in Sydney in April and operate on the same rotation as the first ship. A third vessel, Boomerang III will arrive in Brisbane in May and will operate on a 21-day round trip from Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne-Fremantle-Brisbane.

Pan Shipping is a Victorian-based privately-owned company. Shareholders in the business include Pan Shipping director – Mike Arnold and chairman – Lyall McLachlan, who both previously worked within the management of Swads.