The newest tugboat in Port kembla, Svitzer Ruby was officially welcomed in a traditional maritime naming ceremony on Tuesday.

Svitzer Australia managing director Nicolaj Noes said they were pleased to play a role in diversifying the port with critical infrastructure and readying it for potential new gas imports.

"Svitzer Ruby will boost the capability of the port, assisting larger vessels to enter its waterways and playing a critical role in facilitating trade in NSW," he said.

"This new boat is about being a little ahead of the curve, and saying infrastructure is there to facilitate trade, not there to catch up when a trade is there."

Svitzer Ruby is an escort towage capable vessel featuring a render recovery winch, FiFi1 class notation for firefighting, a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) operational protection package and a rear winch for over the stern towing operations.

The new gas terminal would accommodate LNG carrier ships, a floating LNG handling facility, wharf infrastructure and a pipeline to connect to the existing NSW East Coast gas network nearby.

Mr Barilaro said Tuesday's event was the first step towards supporting LNG imports into NSW. 

"This is an exciting first milestone," he said.

"The big plan here is the gas import terminal. 

The planning for a vital $250 million gas terminal at Port Kembla was approved by the NSW Government in April 2019. 

The gas terminal will not only be a major boost for the local economy in Port Kembla and the wider Illawarra region, but will also help to drive down the cost of living and operating a business across NSW.  

This terminal will make the state of NSW more self-sufficient when it comes to energy, and will create greater access to global gas markets.  It also supports diversification, future growth and employment in Port Kembla and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region.

Image: Robert Peet