Shadow Member for Trade and Tourism, Kevin Hogan, has released a statement saying that, as its primary sources of trade, Australia needs to look into how it can make its ports more productive and efficient. 

In the statement, published initially to Shipping Australia,  – Mr Hogan said that as an island nation, Australia relies on its ports and shipping to open doors for its exporters to world markets and also provide a safe and reliable service for consumers to bring into the country the many goods they desire.

“Our ports are key to our national supply chain and that’s why as shadow trade and tourism spokesperson, they are the top of my list to visit when I can,” Mr Hogan said. 

“Around the world, they account for 90 per cent of global trade and in Australia, it is even higher.

“The ship and cargo volume statistics are staggering. In 2020-2021, over 30,600 ship port calls, involving over 6,300 different ships, were made to about 70 Australian ports. 

“Those ships carried approximately 1,709 million tonnes of cargo with a value in excess of $600 billion. That’s about 1,516 million tonnes of exports worth $354.8 billion and over 97 million tonnes of goods imports, worth approximately $246.6 billion.

“And that is all important for the broader economy.”

Mr Hogan said that in relation to Australia’s international goods trade, exports contribute a fifth of the country’s economic production and imports, about 16 per cent. 

“Shipping accounts for over 99 per cent of this by volume.

“So, it’s critical that I have a first-hand understanding of their part in the supply chain, to meet people at the forefront and to gain an insight about what the issues are in this critical sector.

“Shipping is critical to this country and we should be so proud of this sector and the people who work within it.”

Mr Hogan said that shipping is going to continue to be imperative for Australia and Australians – by 2050 the containerised freight task is forecast to more than triple at the Port of Brisbane, nearly triple at the Port of Melbourne and increase by two and a half times at Port Botany in Sydney.

“Because of the importance of our ports, we need to work on how they can become more productive and what that will mean for consumers and the trade sector.

“A World Bank report ranked the efficiency of most of Australia’s container ports in the bottom 20 per cent of 351 international ports; a November 2021 report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) described significant performance issues at Australia’s container ports.

“The report highlighted that inefficiencies at our ports cost the Australian economy about $600 million a year.”

Read Mr Hogan’s full insight and opinion here.

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