Melbourne port box trade decline first in 18yrs

Port of Melbourne trade declines almost 6 percent in 2008-09, dragged down by weaker imports

September 8, 2009

Trade through the Port of Melbourne declined almost 6 percent in 2008-09, dragged down by weaker imports to recession-hit industries.

Container trade recorded negative growth for the first time in 18 years, down 4.4 percent on the previous financial year to 2.16 million TEU for the 12 months to June.

Imports fell 6.5 percent, though container exports held up better declining by 3.3 percent. The port still handled some 6,000 containers per day on average.

Car imports also declined markedly, down more than 23 percent to just 301,000 units.

Despite the 5.7 drop in trade overall, Port of Melbourne Corporation CEO Stephen Bradford says port operators showed "resilience" in a declining economy.

"We will continue to monitor trade volumes closely but we remain confident that our robust business model positions us to deliver on our port development plans beyond this current economic cycle as trade volumes bounce back," he says.

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