Impact of increasing container ship size on container handling productivity at Australian ports

The size of container ships visiting Australia’s ports has been increasing in recent years. This paper presents an initial analysis of these data at three of Australia’s largest container ports: Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We explore the nature and timing of increased visitation of very large vessels (>55,000 GT), before looking at the coincident effects of this on port productivity and efficiency. We analyse the recent time series of wharfside and landside indicators published in Waterline. Our results indicate that during 2013 semester 2 there was a sharp upturn in the number of very large vessels making their first call to Australia’s major container ports. Since 2013 semester 2, both wharfside and landside indicators of productivity and efficiency have declined at all three ports. We also examined slot utilisation for trucks transporting containers from and to ports, and show that while the number of slots has been increased to handle increased throughput, this mechanism alone has been insufficient to address concurrent decline in landside efficiency, particularly at Melbourne and Sydney. While the timing of these declines in wharfside productivity and landside efficiency coincide with increased visitation by very large vessels, a broad range of factors may be contributing to these results. Improvements in wharfside productivity may not lift port performance if landside efficiency is not also addressed. Forecast growth in container throughput at Australia’s ports is likely to manifest in increased frequency of visitation from very large vessels. To maintain or improve Australia’s port performance in the face of this increased visitation, a terminal view of productivity and efficiency is critical in optimising operations, achieving supply chain integration, and guiding investment decision-making.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 15p
  • Monograph Title: Informing transport's future through practical research: 37th Australasian Transport Research Forum, 30 September to 2 October 2015, Sydney, New South Wales

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01586958
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 14 2016 11:43AM