It has been a challenging year for exports starting with drought and bushfires, closely followed by COVID-19. Port of Melbourne has continued to operate in a COVIDsafe
environment throughout the pandemic.
The critical role of the port and the supporting supply chain has been brought to the fore, as the community’s dependence on the timely supply of goods has rarely been more pressing. Victoria’s producers continued to be supported by the freight industry, and exports have moved through the port largely unhindered by COVID-19, notwithstanding some challenges at interstate borders.
Throughout the pandemic, the Victorian Government’s continued recognition of the ports and freight supply chain as an essential service has been crucial in enabling our ports to continue to operate efficiently.
Port of Melbourne has worked closely with tenants and the wider supply chain to anticipate potential interruptions. In March 2020 when restrictions were first announced, Port of Melbourne in conjunction with key stakeholders developed a supply chain initiative to locate near and on-port land that could be utilised for storage of excess containers if required, and this work is ongoing. To date, this surplus land has not been required, demonstrating the continued smooth operation of the port supply chain.
Overall trade was down five per cent in the 2019-20 financial year compared with the prior year, which is a testament to the efforts of the freight industry to keep goods moving in and out of the port.
A significant project that commenced this year is the Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP). The $125m PRTP not only provides rail infrastructure upgrades port side, but it supports exports by creating a more efficient and transparent rail operating framework. The project is being delivered at no cost to exporters, with funding provided by a small increase in the tariff on full import containers.
Port of Melbourne is focused on the bigger picture – delivering the right infrastructure and operating environment to drive efficiencies in the supply chain.