TASMANIAN ports handled a total of 14.513 million tonnes over the 2022-23 financial year, according to the most recent data from state ports operator TasPorts.

Last year’s total throughput was a decrease of 2.7% on the previous year. TasPorts attributed this decrease, in part, to “reduced mineral exports as a result of market volatility”. However, trade volumes increased in general and containerised cargo.

The top containerised export over the year was fresh Tasmanian air, with 107,318 TEU of empties headed north.

General cargo was the second-biggest export commodity with 59,326 TEU, followed by foods-other (34,491 TEU), forestry (16,627 TEU) and paper products (11,539 TEU).

The port operator said the mix of trade in containers across Bass Strait is influenced by general cargo imports, or retail sales, and large-scale manufacturing exports, food and industrial-related production volumes.

TasPorts said volumes had softened during the fourth quarter of last year due to pressures on household budgets through interest rate increases and cost-of-living pressures appearing to impact retail spending.

The port operator also noted that the fourth quarter of the year is usually an off-peak period for Bass Strait trade volumes.

Total FY23 vessel visits increased by 3% to 2626. This increase is largely due to the resumption of cruise ship visits following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to TasPorts, which said the trend is likely to continue.