Agribusiness & Food, Logistics, Ports & Terminals

Better truck utilisation key as bulk drives up Melbourne containers

Photo: Port of Melbourne

High productivity trucks must play a role in the movement of freight to and from the Port of Melbourne.

That’s the view of Victorian ports minister Luke Donnellan who used a business lunch this week to argue passionately that the state must become more efficient in moving goods.

“Fundamentally, we want to see high productivity freight vehicles shouldering more of the state’s freight burden,” Mr Donellan told delegates to a recent CEDA function.

“Currently, truck utilisation for port containers is just over 1.2 TEU per truck, which sees about 1.6 million truck movements annually to and from the Port.

“A failure to improve on that could see over 6.4 million truck movements by 2035 to handle the forecast container volumes.

“However, if we improve truck utilisation to two TEU per truck by 2035, annual truck movements would be at a more manageable three million annually.”

Mr Donnellan said increasing truck efficiency to service the container trade was imperative.

The minister also discussed agriculture, noting Victoria accounted for 29% of farm exports from Australia.

“As we produce more and more of what the growing global middle class wants, freight volumes are expanding.

“We recognise that a growing freight task in Victoria – and perhaps more importantly, a growing export freight task – means we have to find smarter ways to move more freight more efficiently.”

He noted Victoria’s two largest commodities by weight were woodchips and raw milk.

“Increasingly, we are exporting our commodities in containers, rather than in bulk.

“While container usage changes from year-to-year depending on the level of competition between bulk and container carriers, the long-term trend is upward.

“If mass-constrained roads mean we can only accommodate a single TEU of grain on a semi-trailer, then suddenly we are at a disadvantage to the grain producers we compete with like Canada and Argentina.”

This article originally appeared in ABHR affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia. Read the original here.

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