Port trade surges as GFC ends

Port of Melbourne reveals second-half trade surge for 2009-2010 financial year

By Rob McKay | July 27, 2010

The Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) claimed an end to the global financial crisis today after revealing a second-half trade surge for the 2009-2010 financial year.

Container throughput rose 2.7 percent to 2.237 million 20-foot equivalent units (teu) over the full year. The second half saw monthly trade volumes up between 9.1 percent and 23.7 percent.

The June rise was 21.7 percent to 187,000 containers, which may be significant given it came before the seasonal container import rise in the months before Christmas was due to kick in.

Full container movements rose 6.4 percent to 1.8, while empties fell 6.3 percent to 435,000.

Bolstered by container and vehicle trades, total trade was up 5.5 percent compared with last financial year to 75.4 million revenue tonnes.

The vehicle trade rose 27.4 percent to 375,000 units as part of a non-containerised trade increase of 6.7 percent to 21.1 million tonnes.

"Trade has now returned to the level it was at before the impact of the global financial crisis and on the strength of these figures we believe the recent downturn may have passed," PoMC CEO Stephen Bradford says

Premier John Brumby used the figures to extol the virtues of the port’s channel dredging project, saying it had contributed to the rise in container volumes.

"The port experienced very strong trade in the first half of 2010. In the six months from January to June, container volumes grew at an average monthly rate of 15.8 percent – the strongest ever performance for the port’s core trade," Brumby says.

"Just over a year ago, 60 percent of container vessels calling at Melbourne were potentially draught affected with serious implications for the wider logistics chain and impacting exports.

"Since the completion of channel deepening, on average at least one vessel every two days has utilised the increased draught depth, with 74 vessels benefiting in the June quarter."

The Government says the project, which had been forecast to cost $960 million, had come in $248 million cheaper.

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