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SwitchCo sets sail to Geelong with Spirit of Tasmania

Client-Side Project Manager

16 months from engagement to first sailing and we've continued working with TT-Line for the 5 months post first sailing as part of operational readiness.

TT-Line engaged SwitchCo to complete the Spirit of Tasmania terminal relocation (from Melbourne to Geelong) project successfully.

SwitchCo was brought in six months after the site establishment to administer and deliver the project. The project involved representing TT-Line, aligning their interests with the GeelongPort project management team, and ensuring the project was on time and within budget.

The new state-of-the-art Geelong terminal offers a new customer travel experience focusing on operational efficiency and passenger comfort. It incorporates innovative technologies such as the Automated Mooring Units (AMU's) and a unique three-level access ramp for simultaneous boarding from multiple levels. The ramp is the first in the world, allowing faster loading and disembarking of customers and freight.


Representing TT-Line, with an employee base of 550 and a customer base of 250,000, SwitchCo worked with GeelongPort, multiple contractors, and stakeholders to move the TT-Line operation to the brand-new Geelong facility while adhering to strict contractor deadlines.

SwitchCo was thrilled to work on this project, with the size and complexity of the task creating a buzz for the whole team. The Spirit of Tasmania also holds a special place in James Harris' heart (SwitchCo's Director) as he comes from Devonport, Tasmania, where the ship berths. A tight schedule and turnaround time meant SwitchCo’s project management team had to maintain focus on all areas to ensure the milestones were achieved.

“SwitchCo is an expert in efficiency, delivery and has the art/science of Project Management at a level that will ensure we look no further as we embark upon our new terminal project...”  

(Port Operations Manager, Spirit of Tasmania)

“Through their specialised knowledge, systems, and pure passion, SwitchCo has provided efficiency and quality benefits for all stakeholders involved.”  

(Business Improvements Project Lead, Spirit of Tasmania).

Outcome: Ships ahoy!

Ultimately, SwitchCo successfully transitioned TT-Line’s new Spirit of Tasmania shipping terminal facility from a construction site to fully operational. SwitchCo guided and educated TT-Line on the new facilities, processes, and systems, leading to a seamless and successful transition.

The first sailing took place smoothly and on schedule – the desired outcome from a successfully implemented project. The SwitchCo team played a critical role in representing TT-Line and delivering this significant new port facility, which we’re proud to share as a showcase of our expertise in project management. And we’re pleased to note that we can personally recommend the new route and facilities!

Key Partners: 



The APP Group



Challenges faced:

With the imminent end of the current TT-Line Station Pier lease, this project's adherence to time was a priority. The critical path for delivery allowed a very small window of opportunity to develop and improve the design to cater to TT-Line's needs. The interests of TT-Line needed to be delivered by SwitchCo using a positive and creative communication strategy and agile delivery approach supported by the SwitchCo teams’ ability to think outside the box.

For example, site communications (data comms, security, WIFI, CCTV, access control) did not form part of the landlord's scope of work. When requested to complete these works as a variation, all indications were that the project end date would be extended by three months with significant variation costs. Furthermore, a three-month extension would have delayed the first sailing date. SwitchCo undertook a D&C (design and construction) delivery of site-wide communications to ensure successful operations on the scheduled first sailing date.

Through intense design collaboration with the TT-Line IS team and external communications vendors and careful communication management with the GeelongPort project management team and the landside contractor, SwitchCo successfully delivered the site comms package for half of the expected variation value and achieved the first sailing without a single day extension to the deadline.

Late in the project, SwitchCo helped discover a potentially significant setback, in that the landlord package of works did not extend to include site or road signage. SwitchCo worked up a solution to address the missing signage within an impressively short time, in collaboration with the TT-Line Marketing Department, Port Operations, and the signage designer. Coordinating with the Town Planner, CoGG Planning and Building Department, Road Safety Authority, and Department of Transport, they managed the signage installation before the first sailing.


SwitchCo worked constructively with all GeelongPort facility stakeholders during the project implementation to ensure key milestone events were met by their strict deadlines. The team regularly coordinated with port project managers to review progress. These meetings enabled the SwitchCo project management team to foresee and capture construction challenges with the new marine units – giant suction cup technology used to pull the ship into port where mooring lines had previously been used. Potential challenges were identified and overcome through discussions with the various subcontractors, and all within the project deadlines.

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