A direct sea-freight service is set to link Dampier to Singapore and save Pilbara businesses time and money transporting goods when it is launched later this month. Australia’s largest privately owned shipping company, Sea Swift, will begin the freight service using a 99m vessel. The company expects to average two sailings a month between Dampier and Singapore. The ship will carry all types of freight, including containers or large machines, and will operate on a 20-day roll-on, roll-off freight-operation model. The service arose from the Pilbara Freight Study’s findings and subsequent work by its consultant, Paul Toussaint-Jackson, to set up a new route in the region. Mr Toussaint-Jackson said it would be a “game changer” for Karratha businesses. “The service provides an entirely new option of getting items to support life in the community and with industry,” he said. “The development of Pilbara has been dominated by very large companies who are experts at producing profitable resources for export but the freight side of things has been neglected.” Mr Toussaint-Jackson said the route opened the Pilbara to other international trade routes. “If you get your goods to Singapore, you can take advantage of the low-cost equatorial liner services that run to Asia and around to Europe, into the United States, the Middle East and also the high-volume trades up into north Asia,” he said. Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State Government had worked hard over the past four years to secure direct shipping services into Asian hubs from ports in the Pilbara. Ms MacTiernan said direct shipping would have positive flow-on effects through the Pilbara economy, including new local jobs in the logistics and distribution sector. “Sea Swift’s vessel is a roll-on, roll-off carrier, which has the versatility to handle many different types of cargo,” she said. “It is early days, but the first reports on forward bookings are very encouraging.” The freight company will use shipping and logistics company GAC to provide port operations, documentation, financial governance and equipment handling. GAC managing director Henrik Althen said demand for this direct link between two key resources hubs would rise steadily to allow general and break-bulk cargo transfer. The move comes after ports in Dampier and Port Hedland were granted Federal biosecurity first-point entry status in November 2019.