Study uncovers import and export trends

Understanding how the supply chain really works is fundamental to keeping freight moving according to Port of Melbourne.

In September, Port of Melbourne launched its findings on its Container Logistics Supply Chain Study (CLCS) that maps out container movements to and from the port.

Such a report hasn’t been undertaken since 2009 which goes to show how Covid-19 has been a cause for change and disruption.

Brendan Bourke, the CEO of the Port of Melbourne, commented on the study upon its release and said the organisation needs to provide a current picture on container movements along the supply chain across all of Victoria and interstate.

The biggest shift, according to Port of Melbourne, is that Melbourne’s western suburbs have grown in importance as a freight hub with a 41 per cent increase in the last 10 years of being the final destination of imported goods through the port.

From an export perspective, the report shows Warrnambool and Mildura as key drivers of Victorian exports through the port with an average of 5.0 per cent each contributing to these figures with the South Western Corridor producing the most export containers in Victoria.

“It’s very clear that container volumes are growing, and consumers are importing more goods from overseas,” said Bourke.

“The need for strategic transport planning to meet these increased freight needs is necessary across Metropolitan Melbourne and especially in the west where we see the key hub of Victoria’s supply chain growing.

“The report also points to continued growth of container movements in the west of Melbourne. The amenity of residents and port buffer zones separating industrial and residential locations are important considerations for industry and government alike.”

The report was developed by GHD Advisory, with support from the Victorian Department of Transport.

Bourke announced his retirement in a statement dated Friday 17 September.

He joined the Port as CEO in 2016, just after the awarding of the 50 year port lease to the Port of Melbourne Group.

Since that time, Bourke has led significant programs and projects including the Port Development Strategy that outlines how the port will adapt to growth over the next 30 years.

Under Bourke’s leadership, Port of Melbourne Group also delivered a port rail strategy that will provide a new on-port rail terminal to grow the volume of containers that move by rail, managed investments of over $370 million and worked with many port stakeholders to ensure that the port remains the biggest container and general cargo port in Australia.

Saul Cannon will be appointed as the new CEO, effective 15 November 2021.

Cannon, at the time of the media release, held the position of CFO at Toll Group.

Currently, manufacturers like Tesla have flagged congested ports and constrained conditions throughout the global supply chain as part of the reason for pacing productivity at the factory.

Shipping Australia reckons 3.1 million of the 25 million TEU containers are at present stuck in port congestion around the world, while demand for containerised goods remains high although our nation is bringing more containers in than shipping them out.

Freight and Trade Alliance Director, Paul Zalai, told Fairfax Media, that while shipping lines were happy to provide container services to exports on routes to China and south-east Asia so that they could reload ships to go to the US and Europe, they were less keen on going to India, the Middle East or Africa.

Container shortages and high freight rates, according to NSW Farmers, is impacting producers of time-sensitive perishable goods the most.

Port Botany, New South Wales’ largest port, saw strong growth in container volumes at the end of FY2021 with the highest volumes on record handled to be 2.7 million TEU. Container imports increased by nearly 11 per cent on last year as Australians continued to spend on furniture, electrical items, white goods and home renovation products.