TasPorts and Tasmanian Polar Network (TPN) has welcomed Chinese icebreaker RV Xue Long today, on her first visit to Hobart since 2014.

This visit is the first of two scheduled calls during the summer season, marking another step forward in establishing Tasmania as Australia’s Antarctic gateway.

The arrival of the icebreaker follows the recent visit to China by Premier Will Hodgman, TasPorts Acting Chief Executive Officer Anthony Donald, TPN Chairman Richard Fader and other industry delegates on a high-level trade and investment mission.

The successful trip was crucial in building relationships with Chinese Antarctic delegates and highlighting Tasmania’s current and future logistics capabilities.

TasPorts Acting CEO Anthony Donald said, “TasPorts is already working to deliver on our commitment to provide a world-leading Antarctic precinct and logistics facility at Hobart Port as part of our Port Master Plan.”

“TasPorts infrastructure and the Port of Hobart are ideally suited to deliver on aspirations to be the key gateway to the Southern Ocean, encouraging other international research vessels to call to Tasmania,” Mr Donald said.

Successful and positive discussions in China have led to a hopeful relationship with Chinese Antarctic representatives and led to the commitment by Xue Long to visit twice this season, expected to inject up to $2.5 million into the local economy.

Mr Donald said “The maturity of the TPN is highly regarded by the Chinese Antarctic industry and is a key driver in encouraging other international Antarctic research vessels to berth in Hobart.”

In addition to the logistics facilities available in Hobart, the Tasmanian Polar Network assist business with opportunities in the supply of goods and services and increased scientific collaboration with Australian Antarctic Division, CSIRO and University of Tasmania.

Richard Fader, Chairman of the TPN said, “The visit of the RV Xue Long brings excellent opportunities for growth in the Tasmanian Antarctic sector and strengthens Hobart’s position as the preferred re-supply port for China’s Antarctic program”