PORT of Melbourne handled a total of 291,262 TEU in March, just shy of 30% more than March 2020, according to the latest trade information from the port. 

A statement from the port said overall container trade volumes continue to track above the comparative periods in 2020, although the second week of April was flat compared to the comparable week in 2020. This likely reflects vessel arrival patterns. 

Full overseas container imports were 37.2% above March 2020 and year-to-date volumes are up by 16%. The port said the largest increases in household items such as furniture and clothing. 

Full overseas container exports increased 9% on March 2020, and year-to-date volumes up by 3.9%. Cereal grains and wool were the key drivers. 

Full container trade between Melbourne and Tasmania, excluding transhipments, increased 7.9% on March 2020 to total 19,732 TEU and was up 6.6% for the year to date. 

Empty container movements saw a huge increase last month, when compared to March 2020. A total of 79,476 TEU of empties crossed the wharves last month, an increase of 51%, and up 16.6% for the year to date. 

Full transhipments were up 51.9% on March 2020 with year-to-date volumes up by 34.3%. 

Motor vehicle trade was up 22.5% on March 2020 with imports increasing 16.0% and exports up 59.4%. 

Break bulk trade (excluding motor vehicles) increased 76.2% over March 2020, up 35.8% for the financial year to date driven primarily by increased imports of non-electrical machinery, iron and steel and exports of non-electrical machinery. 

Dry bulk trade increased 45.2% over March 2020, up 14.9% for the year to date, primarily driven by strong grain exports compared with no grain exports in March 2020. 

Total liquid bulk trade for the month was 12.4% below the March 2020 level primarily driven by crude oil imports being down on March 2020.