CONTAINER trade through Port Botany increased 24% in March, when compared with March last year, according to the latest trade data from NSW Ports.

A grand total of 226,069 TEU crossed the wharves at Botany in March – that is up from 182,997 in March 2020.

Botany’s container exports rose 25.7% on last year to 118,393 TEU last month. Full exports only rose 1.2% while exports of empties were 43.8% to 77,909 TEU in March. This makes fresh air Port Botany’s largest export by volume in March. These empty container exports included those that departed on the 347-metre, 9640-TEU Soroe Maersk – the longest ship to call at Botany – which was deployed to evacuate empty containers from Botany and Melbourne.

Of last month’s container throughput, 108,676 TEU was imports, which was a 22.4% increase on the same month last year.

Imports of “miscellaneous manufactured articles” rose last month 40% on March 2020 to 18,969 TEU. Machinery imports were up 52.8% to 18,911 TEU; “foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco imports were down 3% to 11.272; and imports of plastic and rubber were up 20.8% to 11,146 TEU.

Turning to exports, the largest containerised export was paper, which was up 5.8% to 6831 TEU. Following that was vegetable products, up 140.7% to 6413 TEU and food, which was up 14% to 5310 TEU.

During March, 83 container vessels visited Port Botany – up from 81 in March 2020. Of last month’s visits, the largest group was the 5000-6000-TEU capacity, with 27 visits. This was followed by the 4000-5000 TEU band with 14; and the 2000-3000 TEU band with 10 visits. There was one visit of a ship with a capacity of 10,000 TEU or more over the month.