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Melbourne container logistics study lauds road haulage

Trucking’s investment in staging and other services underpins port system


Container logistics in the biggest cities has gained greater clarity, with Port of Melbourne Container Logistics Chain Study the latest report off the presses.

And the fundamental role container haulage firms play in keeping the nation’s biggest port from seizing up has been placed in sharp relief by the study’s findings.

Victorian Transport Association, Freight and Trade Alliance, International Forwarders & Customs Brokers of Australia, BDO and national body Container Trade Alliance Australia (CTAA) all added insight into how the Melbourne system works.

CTAA director Neil Chambers notes that the study “certainly highlights the vital role that container transport operators play as the ‘glue’ in the container logistics chain. 

“Without the level of investments and operational practices adopted by transport operators the chain would not really function at all.”

The central findings include:

  • 82% of import containers are staged predominately via transport yards on their journey between international container terminals and final delivery to importers, while 40% of export containers are staged before delivery to terminals for vessel loading.
  • 43% of import containers are picked up from Melbourne’s container terminals between 6pm and 6am, while 67% are delivered to import customers between 6am and 4pm weekdays. Transport operators have one eye on maximising efficiencies in their interaction with container terminals, while smoothing the mismatch of operating hours with their landside customers.
  • Higher productivity freight vehicles (Super B-doubles and A-doubles) now account for 40% of visits to container terminals in Melbourne, while semi-trailers account for 39%.
  • More and more empty containers are also being staged before transport operators can secure bookings to de-hire import empties or deliver empties to exporters for packing.

“The investment and commitment of transport operators in the container logistics chain needs greater acknowledgement – by governments and by other industry stakeholders,” Chambers said.

“Investments in land, yards, systems, modern, efficient, safe, and more environmentally friendly transport equipment, and people, have been significant.

“Container transport operations are capital intensive, yet operating margins are thin.

“Container transport operators deserve a decent return on those investments, just as others in the supply chain do as well.”


Read about early moves on the Victorian stevedoring reporting model, here

The study highlights 94% of import containers have a delivery address in metropolitan Melbourne, up from 87% in 2009, while 64% of full export containers are generated in metropolitan Melbourne.

And, the growth of activity in the Western metropolitan areas has been significant, while volumes are also still strong in the south eastern metro areas.

“This justifies the significant investments which continue to be made by transport operators in these areas of Melbourne to service the container logistics chain,” Chambers said.

“The importance of recognising the investments and commitments of container transport operators is not just confined to Melbourne, however.

“The same dynamics of evolving container logistics chain processes ring true in all of Australia’s capital-city container ports.”

The study can be found here


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