Friday, May 29, 2015

Port Throughput of Freight Tonnage and TEUs Up but Cargo Handling Speeds Declined

Government Figures Show Second Half of 2014 for Labour, Cranes and Ships
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – The Australian government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) provides economic analysis, research and statistics on infrastructure, transport and regional development issues and this week has produced statistics in its ‘Waterline 56’ report showing the rate of flow of freight through the country’s ports in the second half of 2014 slowing noticeably, as the amount of cargo actually increased.

Whilst Adelaide managed to improve turnaround times for both trucks (down 17.4%) and containers (down 14.4%), the countries other major ports, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle, saw significantly slower figures, with overall increases of 5.7 and 4.7% respectively in the period July to December last year.

The BITRE report says cargo passing through Australian ports increased 3% in the period with a total throughput of 3.7 million TEUs. Fremantle experienced the strongest increase of 11.3% with the other ports all recording more modest totals of growth, again excepting Adelaide which dropped 2.6%, a factor which may go some way to explain its faster landside turnaround times.

Average labour productivity on the wharves showed a modest improvement, up 0.9%, but reduced crane rates, down 3.3%, showed lower capital productivity, and translated to longer median ship turnaround rates at Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Fremantle exhibited the strongest performance, with elapsed labour rate, crane rate and ship rate improvements of 39.4%, 32.8% and 10.9% respectively, with the sharpest declines in Brisbane, elapsed labour rate and ship rate down by 12.3% and 14.5% respectively, a figure which will not please the container lines operating services in the region.