Australian ports below world standards: report

Australian ports below international standards on throughput, yard efficiency and turnaround times

September 1, 2009

Australian ports have fallen below international standards on key indicators like throughput, yard efficiency and turnaround times, a new report says.

But port managers say the report makes unfair comparisons with overseas facilities.

Compiled for the Australian Maritime Group (AMG) by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), Australian Container Ports in an International Context reveals the five major port facilities in Australia are lagging substantially behind their overseas counterparts.

The BITRE records an average throughput figure of 545 TEUs based on data from 2007-08 in Adelaide, Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney - significantly less than the 945 TEU figure recorded internationally.

The average vessel turnaround at domestic ports was 29 hours, longer than the 26-hour average recorded overseas.

But Ports Australia dismisses the figures, claiming factors like port size and investment in facilities need to be considered.

"Many of the ports against which Australian ports have been bench-marked are major transhipment ports that have massive exchanges," CEO David Anderson says.

"This provides opportunities for greater efficiencies over Australian ports that have smaller exchanges and in the main handle containers for import and export to and from their hinterlands, with associated landside issues."

But Anderson admits with a growing population and trade growth projected at 6 percent longer-term infrastructure planning is required to keep pace.

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