Exports drive increase in port trade figures

Port of Melbourne trade jumps by close to 10 percent, shaking off lingering effects of financial downturn

March 1, 2010

The Port of Melbourne has all but shaken off the lingering effects of the financial downturn, announcing an almost 10 percent increase in trade levels in January.

The Port of Melbourne Corporation says total trade through the port rose 9.5 percent in January compared with the corresponding month in 2009.

It claims the latest figure is approaching pre global financial crisis levels and the increase reflects the improvement in trade evident since August last year.

According to the figures, total container trade jumped 12.2 percent, resulting in the port handling another 600 containers a day on average compared to the throughput of January last year.

Port of Melbourne Corporation CEO Stephen Bradford says the strong export figure is encouraging and says more vessels are also using the increased depth from the channel deepening project.

"In the first three months from November 26 to February 25, on average at least one vessel every second day utilised the increased draught depth," Bradford says.

Full container exports increased 14.7 percent compared to the same time last year to be up 5.6 percent for the financial year to date.

Empty container movements also posted their first monthly increase since December 2008, increasing 6.4 percent.

The only drawback was from full container imports and motor vehicle trade.

Although imports rose 13.6 percent, they remain down by 2.5 percent for the financial year.

New motor vehicle trade posted its fourth consecutive month of growth, rising 12.6 percent on January 2009 to be down 5.6 percent for the year to date.

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