Port of Melbourne Stakeholder Update 24

Soft container volumes seen in November

November 2021 was a softer month for total container throughput (full and empty) with a total of 281,305 TEU, 4.5% below the previous year.

Total container imports decreased 2.0% on November 2020. Containerised imports of furniture, domestic appliances and textiles were all down on November 2020 volumes.

Total container exports decreased 7.3% on November 2020.  Containerised exports of wheat, pulp and waste paper, barley and vegetables (processed) were all up on November 2020 volumes, however total empty container movements decreased 8.8% on November 2020 bringing the total container exports down.

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

  • full overseas container imports 6.3% below November 2020 with year to date volumes down 5.1%;
  • full overseas container exports 4.0% above November 2020 with year to date volumes down 6.4%;
  • full container transhipments were 39.7% below November 2020 with year to date volumes down 16.1%;
  • full container trade between Melbourne and Tasmania (excluding transhipments) increased 3.1% on November 2020 with year to date volumes up 0.3%; and
  • total empty container movements were 8.8% below November 2020 totalling 67,988 TEU with year to date volumes up 8.7%.
  • motor vehicle imports decreased 23.5% (-7,108 units) on November 2020, with year to date volumes up 10.9%
  • dry bulk trade was up 24.2% over November 2020, with year to date volumes up 30.9%.
  • break bulk trade declined 12.2% over November 2020, with year to date volumes up 45.4%.
  • liquid bulk trade was down 4.2% over November 2020, with year to date volumes down 3.2%.

Trade outlook

Container trade for December 2021 is tracking slightly up on the comparative month in 2020 with rolling delays and congestion continuing.

Supply chain

Globally freight demand remains very strong with shipping lines continually monitoring schedules to regain integrity where they can with port omissions and rotations still ongoing.

Across several Australian ports shipping lines continue to advise of port omissions and change of rotations in an attempt to recover time in their schedules.  Locally, rolling delays and congestion continue with waiting times to berth increasing during November, with some subcontracting of vessels between terminals continuing.

Industrial relations

It was previously noted that the outcome of a conciliation session between Patrick Terminals and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) was an agreement by the MUA to withdraw protected industrial action effective from 10th November, with no further action to be notified before 10th December 2021.

At this time there is nothing further to report.

Port Rail Transformation Project Update

On 9 December 2021, Minister for Ports and Freight, the Hon Melissa Horne MP joined Port of Melbourne CEO Saul Cannon and the Seymour Whyte team to mark the official start of works for Port of Melbourne (PoM)’s $125m+ Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP). PRTP is the first of many major growth projects, outlined in PoM’s Port Development Strategy. It will enable more containers to be moved by rail more efficiently, by-passing roads in inner Melbourne. The project will provide the port side infrastructure to welcome future metropolitan shuttles through the Victorian Government’s Port Rail Shuttle Network.

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

To download a PDF of this update click here.