Port exports grow amid bottleneck fears

Sydney Ports' exports increase, but will bottlenecks put a curb on growth?

By Samantha Freestone | March 29, 2010

Sydney Ports’ exports continue to increase, amid claims Australia’s ports will cripple under the projected mining boom’s demands.

NSW Minister for Ports and Waterways Paul McLeay says the growth in exports is due to paper products, chemicals, metals machinery, transport equipment textiles and chemical exports.

Full imports continued to grow, with 72,800 TEU passing through the port in February.

The figure is a 45.1 percent increase on last year, with February alone increasing 25.4 percent on the same time last year.

McLeay says Port Botany’s container volumes reached over 147,400 containers in February alone, the fifth consecutive monthly record container throughput for the Port.

McLeay says the construction of a third terminal will help deal with the increasing number of exports out of Port Botany.

However, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan recently admitted upgrades to all ports across the country were behind schedule, admitting to a possible three or four years of bottlenecks.

"It is possible there may continue to be bottlenecks in some parts of the country, but we've done as we've talked about before, we've set up Infrastructure Australia," Swan says.

Despite this, McLeay says the outlook for local container trade is positive due to strengthening trade with Asia.

He says leading import destinations were dominated by Asia and Europe.

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