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Port of Melbourne monthly throughput takes a plunge


Container volumes at the Port of Melbourne have dropped since the beginning of this year as the global supply chain is facing unprecedented hurdles; and the port anticipates more woes ahead of the peak season.

In May 2022, the port saw total container throughput (full and empty) decline 6 per cent over the same period the previous year, with a total of 271,053 TEU. Year-to-date container volumes were also down 1.9 per cent.

Total container imports decreased 3.9 per cent on May 2021. Containerised imports of manufactures, furniture, metal manufactures and textiles declined as well.

Full container exports grew 1.1 per cent in May 2021 volumes while total empty container movements were below 14.1 per cent due to a combination of factors including vessel scheduling issues, congestion, and a reduced number of total services.

Overall May 2022 container trade results compared with May 2021 were as follows:

  • Full overseas container imports 6.0 per cent below May 2021 with year-to-date volumes down 2.5 per cent.
  • Full overseas container exports 1.1 per cent above May 2021 with year-to-date volumes down 5.6 per cent.
  • Full container transhipments were 21.1 per cent below May 2021 with year-to-date volumes down 8.9 per cent.
  • Full container trade between Melbourne and Tasmania (excluding transhipments) increased 6.5 per cent on May 2021 to total 19,831 TEU with year-to-date volumes down 0.3 per cent.
  • Total empty container movements were 14.1 per cent below May 2021 totalling 69,233 TEU with year-to-date volumes up 1.6 per cent.
  • Motor vehicle imports increased 16.7 per cent (+4,879 units) in May 2021, with year-to-date volumes up 13.2 per cent.
  • Dry bulk trade was up 1.2 per cent over May 2021, with year-to-date volumes up 11.5 per cent.
  • Break bulk trade was up 50.2 per cent over May 2021, with year-to-date volumes up 34.7 per cent.
  • Liquid bulk trade was 17.4 per cent below May 2021, with year-to-date volumes down 1.8 per cent.

Container trade for early June 2022 is tracking below the comparative month in 2021, said the port.

After two months of COVID-19 lockdowns, Shanghai has eased restrictions from early June, but the effects on the supply chain have been felt as nearby ports experienced landside congestion, delays, and equipment availability. 

As Shanghai fully opens, the Port of Melbourne is anticipating more pressure on the back half of 2022 across global supply chains as the industry heads towards peak season.

The Port of Melbourne saw a 5 per cent drop in its container volumes in April 2022 as well – handling 255,193 TEU.



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