Response to Committee for Melbourne ‘Benchmarking Melbourne Report’

Port of Melbourne is a highly productive port. The Committee for Melbourne has chosen to reference port efficiency measures that don’t compare apples to apples – the statistics they reference don’t adequately point to the efficiency of the Port of Melbourne compared to ports of a similar nature around the world.

VECCI’s Cost and Ease of Doing Business in Victoria Report has found that Victorian businesses have access to the Australia’s most efficient trading port. The report highlighted throughput and efficiency of Australia’s key ports, with Port of Melbourne topping the national average for trade volumes by some 30 per cent.

Ports that have ranked highly in the World Bank report quoted by the Committee for Melbourne are typically export and/or transhipment ports that are fundamentally different to import-dominated ports like the Port of Melbourne.

Port efficiency measures more relevant to Melbourne include:

  • Since 2017 the Port of Melbourne has increased the effective ship rate (containers moved per ship per hour) by 23% (BITRE, 2021).
  • Port of Melbourne currently has an effective ship rate that is 27% more efficient than the next best Australian port (BITRE, 2021).
  • Port of Melbourne’s container terminal productivity is 25% – 50% (TEU/metre of quay line) more efficient compared to regional averages for global terminal operators, driven by higher investments in berth infrastructure providing up to 25% more quay cranes per metre of quay line, and operational practices achieving higher quay crane productivities of between 25% – 55% (TEU/Quay Crane) (Drewery, 2021).

Port of Melbourne’s agile and proactive approach to the management of the various pandemic driven supply chain challenges has proven critical to keeping the Victorian economy moving. Despite the challenges faced by ports internationally and domestic challenges relating to empty container supply chain issues, stevedoring staff shortages (particularly during the recent COVID waves) and surges in trade demand, PoM has remained resilient throughout and quickly adapted to the needs of the economy. This has not always been the case with other comparable international ports.

Port of Melbourne is investing more than $125 million on rail infrastructure and other rail arrangements at the port, including a new terminal and upgrades to existing tracks. This investment, which complements the State Government’s Port Rail Shuttle Network, is designed to move more freight on rail in the future.