PORT Botany is continuing to see increases in container throughput. Consumer goods are pouring in from abroad and the port is expelling empties in huge quantities.

According to the latest figures from NSW Ports, container trade through Port Botany was up 26% last month, compared with February 2020. A total of 223,796 TEU crossed the wharves in February 2021.

Exports from Botany totalled 116,569 TEU. This was an increase of nearly 30% on the same month last year. The increase was driven entirely by an explosion of empty container exports, with 78,423 TEU of fresh air being shipped out of Port Botany in February. This is a 52.5% increase on February 2020’s empty exports.

This influx of empty exports will come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to trade patters over the past year. There has been a colossal increase in goods imports in 2020. This trend is showing no sign of decreasing with NSW Ports reporting 107,227 TEU of imports at Port Botany in February – that’s a 23% increase on the same month last year.


In February, imports of “miscellaneous manufactured articles” rose by 61% (compared with February 2020) to 23,018 TEU. Machinery increased by 29% to 16,042 TEU; food, beverages and tobacco imports increased 2% to 10,754 TEU; plastic and rubber imports increased by 31% to 10,579 TEU; and iron, steel, aluminium and other metals increased 31.49% to 8,777 TEU.

In February this year, there were 84 containership visits to Port Botany, one of which was in the 10,000-TEU-plus capacity band. The band with the most visits was 5000-6000 TEU with 18, followed by 4000-5000 (15 visits), and 1000-2000 TEU (12 visits).

Looking at the non-containerised side of the trade at Port Botany in February, we see a nearly 24% decrease in total throughput last month compared with February 2020 to 362,319 revenue tonnes.

This decrease was mostly driven by a 27.26% fall in bulk liquids imports to 323,733 revenue tonnes last month.