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Ports Australia publishes its Coastal Shipping Factsheet

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Ports Australia has released its Coastal Shipping Factsheet, an analysis paper on the current state of coastal shipping around Australia and its potential for the future of our supply chain.

The Coastal Shipping Factsheet is designed to cater to the need for transparent information to understand the potential of coastal shipping for supporting the productivity of Australia’s supply chain.

Ports Australia’s Policy and Operations Director, Margie Barbouttis, discussed the origins and method behind the Factsheet’s production.

“A strong supply chain is built on strong data and Ports Australia is looking to provide accessible, diverse datasets with our Coastal Shipping Factsheet,” Barbouttis said.

“Ports Australia’s Coastal Shipping Factsheet shows that despite our Blue Highway’s competitive advantages over other freight modes for costs, safety and environmental impact, coastal shipping’s role in meeting Australia’s freight task continues to decline,” she said

The factsheet presents its findings with neutrality and is backed by data, removing any influence of industry point scoring.

Australia’s national freight task is estimated to be 725 billion tonne-km, having increased by over four-fold in the last 45 years.

Between 2018 and 2040 it is forecast to increase by 25% to 962 billion tonne-km.

Data published by BITRE shows in 2015-16, coastal shipping took on just 14.9% of Australia’s domestic freight task, which is a steep decline from 2000-01 when that number was at 27%.

Figure 2. Trend of goods moved domestically by transportation mode (tonne-km) Taken from Ports Australia’s Coastal Shipping Factsheet

Ports Australia CEO, Mike Gallacher, spoke about the organisation’s history dealing with coastal shipping and how this information can be used to better our industry.

“Coastal Shipping has held a major share of Ports Australia’s advocacy for many years now and this Factsheet is a step in a new direction of neutrality and transparency,” Gallacher said.

“Ports Australia is not looking to score points for the maritime sector or undermine other industries, but rather support the national supply chain and the Australian people as we now more fully understand the potential of coastal shipping for the Australian supply chain,” he said.

At a time when industry and government are conducting post-mortems on recent international crises, Gallacher said that the Coastal Shipping Factsheet’s information should be used to help address the vulnerabilities and boost the productivity of the nation’s supply chain.

Related: Ports Australia reveals Australia’s five supply chain key risk areas in Productivity Commission report

Ports Australia believes the nation needs a sustainable coastal shipping sector which will not replace but support our growing freight task, with the advantages evidenced in the factsheet.

The organisation said there is a range of supply chain-specific factors which influence decisions on freight modes. However, by fully realising the potential of coastal shipping and establishing stable regulatory regimes to drive the supply chain and logistics sector, it said we can approach our freight task with more diverse opportunities for efficiency.

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