Saturday 17th Nov, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: Ro-Ro & Car Carriers

Tasmanian Achiever at Webb Dock, Melbourne. Photo: David Sexton
Tasmanian Achiever at Webb Dock, Melbourne. Photo: David Sexton

PORT of Melbourne is Australia’s busiest ro-ro port, with a total of 366,638 units rolling onto or off the wharves there, according to trade statistics released by the Port.

By comparison, Port of Brisbane saw 250,488 units in total ro-ro throughput in the 12 months through August 2017.

And, Port Kembla dealt with 1.2m revenue tonnes of ro-ro cargo over the 12 months through August, while Melbourne’s trade in revenue tonnes for the 10 months alone through August came to 5.74m revenue tonnes.

Returning to Melbourne’s ro-ro throughput, its data show a correlation between its import and export volumes over the past decade.


Some in the ro-ro industry have voiced concerns about declining cargo volumes as local vehicle manufacturing atrophies and disappears.

However, Port of Melbourne’s data show that as exports have been on the decline between 2013 and 2017, exports have shown an upward trend, while the total throughput remains roughly the same.

Between 2008 and 2012, imports through the Port of Melbourne averaged 238,570 units per month, while the average between 2013 and 2017, the monthly average went up to 276,864 units per month.

Looking at the Port’s export numbers, we see an opposite trend. From 2008 through 2012 exports averaged 117,455 units per month, dipping to 88,441 units per month between 2013 and 2017.

Looking at the Port’s recent ro-ro trade, Melbourne saw an average monthly throughput of 36,506 units from November 2016 through this past August.

The high point in this period was August with a throughput of 44,155 units – 7% more than the next biggest month reported, which was 41,333 units in December 2016.

Port of Melbourne also reports its vehicle throughput in revenue tonnes. Over the same period, its monthly ro-ro throughput was 575,434 revenue tonnes, with the largest month, August, being nearly 800,000 revenue tonnes.

From the print edition October 19, 2017

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