The operator of a new international shipping service between Tasmania and Asia says it is unclear how many exporters will benefit.
The Singapore-based Swire Shipping has struck a deal with Pacific Aluminium to run a monthly service from Bell Bay to several Asian ports.
The ship will mostly carry aluminium from the Bell Bay smelter but there will be room for a small number of containers from other exporters.
Swire says it is too early to predict what the volumes will be.
The smelter's general manager, Ray Mostogl, says the loss of international shipping in 2011 had increased costs, threatening Bell Bay's viability.
Mr Mostogl says the shipping deal is a stepping stone towards a long term, sustainable service for Tasmanian exporters.
The Infrastructure Minister, David O'Byrne, has welcomed the deal but admits it is not a long term solution.
He says State and Federal Governments are still considering options for a more regular service for all exporters.