Monday 21st May, 2018

Brisbane container volumes solid in December, while bulk exports take a hit

Photo: Port of Brisbane
Photo: Port of Brisbane

PORT of Brisbane’s container trade in December showed an increase on the same month in 2016, and a decrease on November 2017, with exports of empty containers dominating the Port’s exports.

According to the latest available trade statistics from the Port, total containerised cargo throughput at Brisbane over December was 112,470 TEU – that’s a 5% increase on December 2016, but a decrease of 2% on November 2017.

With December’s throughput numbers, we see that the average container throughput for the 2017 calendar year was 107,080 TEU, with a yearly total of 1.28m TEU – an increase of 9% on the previous year’s throughput.

Digging deeper into the data for this past December, we see imports totalling 54,174 TEU and exports coming in at 57,570 TEU.

As usual, empty containers topped the list of exports at 32,241 TEU, or 56% of total exports from the port, as import containers are repositioned after the busy season.

Brisbane’s second-biggest export for the month was “export other” at 9703 TEU. This was followed by meat products at 4760 TEU.

Exports of freight all kind was 3453 TEU, while containerised timber exports through the port came to 3008 TEU in December.

Other notable containerised export commodities over the month included paper and wood pulp (2232 TEU), agricultural seeds (1659 TEU) and cotton (514 TEU).

Moving on to imports of freight in containers through Brisbane, “import other” topped the list with 22,887 TEU.

Freight all kind was the second-largest containerised import at an even 9000 TEU for the month.

Brisbane imported 5825 TEU of household items in December, 4751 TEU of electrical equipment and 4608 TEU of building products.

Other cargo in containers imported through Brisbane includes iron and steel (2910 TEU), and paper and wood pulp (1295 TEU).

Zooming out to look at total trade (including both containerised and non-containerised cargo) through the Port of Brisbane, we find trade decreased 10% to 2.6m tonnes in December 2017, compared to the same month the previous year.

This decrease was driven by significant decreases in exports of coal and agricultural seeds.

Coal exports saw a decrease of 27% on December 2016, coming to 568,893 tonnes in the last month of 2017.

Exports of agricultural seeds saw a more precipitous drop – 85% – from 246,435 tonnes in December 2016 to 36,247 tonnes in the same month in 2017.

The significant decreases in exports of these two commodities largely drove the 30% decrease in total exports in December.

Turning to imports, volumes of trade grew 14% in December 2017, compared to December 2016 – to 1.5m tonnes.

This was largely driven by increases in imports of fertiliser, retail items, cement and refined oil.

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