TasPorts, the owner / operator of the Bass Island Line (BIL) that operates between Geelong, Grassy and Devonport, has committed to enhancing the service after a market sounding exercise failed to identify a viable solution that would independently improve the vitally important link.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said the company was committed to Bass Island Line remaining part of the TasPorts’ portfolio of businesses for the long-term.

“With the objective of BIL becoming a sustainable business, planned strategies include securing a long-term commitment with a Victorian port, working with customers to grow freight volumes, developing a plan which confronts the realities around pricing and cost structures and the commercial viability of developing a pathway to the next iteration of vessel,” he said.

“Bass Island Line will continue to work with customers and King Island stakeholders on ways to optimise the Bass Island Line service for the ultimate benefit of the King Island community.

“TasPorts and BIL understand the importance of providing a safe and reliable shipping service that is also a vital link for King Island farmers and the wider community.”

Mr Donald said following an initial market sounding process that commenced in late 2018, in April this year current and potential Bass Strait operators were invited to submit indicative proposals to participate in the delivery of the BIL.

“Following an extensive evaluation process, a panel comprising representatives from TasPorts, BIL and the Department of State Growth did not shortlist any of the market participants,” he said.

“This decision was taken on the basis that the evaluation panel considered none of the market participants sufficiently demonstrated that their proposals were able to independently achieve an improved BIL Service outcome without substantial ongoing involvement and support from TasPorts.”