Port of Melbourne Stakeholder update 20

Strong container volumes continue in July 2021

Total container throughput (full and empty) was strong in July with a total of 275,373 TEU, 14.0% above the previous year.

Continued strong empty container movements was the biggest factor in the result.

Full container overseas imports increased by 7.9% on July 2020. Imports of vehicle parts and non-electrical machinery being the largest monthly increases.

Full overseas container exports increased by 3.1% on July 2020.  Exports of miscellaneous manufactures and wool were the strongest movers for the month.

Overall July 2021 container trade results compared with July 2020 were as follows:

  • total container volumes (full and empty) up by 14.0%;
  • full overseas container imports 7.9% up on July 2020;
  • full overseas container exports 3.1% up on July 2020;
  • full container trade between Melbourne and Tasmania excluding transhipments increased 3.9% on July 2020 to total 18,784 TEU;
  • empty container movements were 34.6% above July 2020;
  • full transhipments were 35.8% above July 2020;
  • motor vehicle imports units increased 102.2% (+15,455 units) on July 2020;
  • dry bulk trade increased 19.6% over July 2020;
  • break bulk trade increased 73.2% over July 2020, with increased imports of non-electrical machinery, and iron and steel the main commodities responsible for the monthly gain; and
  • liquid bulk trade declined 3.6% over July 2020.

Trade outlook

Container trade for August 2021 is currently tracking below the comparative month in 2020. Last year’s August result was relatively high as some scheduled July 2020 volumes were delayed due weather delays, industrial action and congestion in other ports.

Supply chain

Globally, port congestion caused by continued strong demand and COVID restrictions is reducing shipping capacity, delaying vessels and increasing ocean freight rates, resulting in significant issues for the supply chain.

Locally, the port freight supply chain continues to adapt, however congestion and industrial action in other ports is causing shipping lines delays and changes to vessel rotation and even omitting some ports in an attempt to recover from ongoing delays, causing significant challenges for exporters.

Industrial relations

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) throughout July carried out protected industrial action at Patrick’s terminals around Australia involving bans on specific work and bans on overtime and shift extensions.

Protected industrial action by the MUA against tug operator Svitzer Australia was announced for 17 August.

Please call your Port of Melbourne contact or email us at information@portofmelbourne.com if you have any queries.

To download a copy of the stakeholder update click here.