Waterline 66 shows pre-pandemic efficiency declines

Major measures going the wrong way, according to container terminal statistics

Waterline 66 shows pre-pandemic efficiency declines
Part of the Waterline 66 report cover


Many counts of Australian port container terminal efficiency were declining in the lead-up to and during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics’ Waterline 66 report released recently should make uncomfortable reading for state and federal transport ministers alike.

Average truck turnaround times rose 7.3 per cent in the five ports during July-December 2019, with increases at Sydney (14.9 per cent), Melbourne (9.2 per cent) and Brisbane (4.5 per cent).

Turnaround times at Adelaide decreased by 14.4 per cent.

The average truck turnaround time in the five ports was 31.1 minutes.

Truck turnaround time increased again in January-June 2020, to 31.3 minutes in the five ports – a rise of 5.7 per cent compared with January-June 2019.

The proportion of trucks backloaded declined by 1.7 percentage points in July-December 2019, to 11.5 per cent, and then remained steady at 11.6 per cent in January-June 2020.

Read the CTAA’s view on why container logistics is distorted, here

In January-June 2020, the highest percentage of backloaded operations was, again, in Adelaide, with 24.0 per cent, with Sydney the lowest at 6.2 per cent.

The total number of truck timeslots used in the five ports fell 6.3 per cent in July-December 2019 compared with the same period in 2018 and decreased by 7.5 per cent in January-June 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, port interface costs for ships visiting Australian ports rose between $4 and $18 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) of container, with the biggest rises occurring in the six months to last June.

This came as fewer containerships visited the country in the 2019-2020 financial year and the number of TEUs through the ports declined 8.4 per cent.

The full report can be found here.


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