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Maritime trade expands whilst trading fleet declines.

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Media Statement


New official data released today contrasts the record amount of cargo crossing the nation’s wharves in 2006-07 with the continuing decline in the Australian trading fleet to less than a hundred ships.

According to the Australian sea freight 2006-07 report:

• The amount of cargo leaving and arriving at the nation’s ports exceeded 850 million tonnes - 733.7 million tonnes of international cargo (exports up 5.1 per cent and imports up 8.5 per cent) and 116.5 million tonnes of coastal trade. • Higher prices for most major commodities contributed to a 10.8 per cent increase in

the value of exports and 10.4 per cent increase in the value of imports between 2005-06 and 2006-07. • Coastal freight, including tonnages loaded and unloaded at Australian ports, displayed a year-on-year increase of 5.6 per cent. Based on cargo loaded, the

coastal fleet task amounted to 126 million tonne/kilometres, an increase of 3.4 per cent from 2005-06. • The number of ships involved in international shipping entering Australian waters increased from 3,528 (2005-06) to 3,725 (2006-07).

Australia’s maritime trading: index of exports, imports and coastal tonnage (10 years to 2006-07)

But while our ports have never been busier, the Australian trading fleet decreased by nine to just 96 ships. What’s more, the number of voyages carrying cargo between Australian ports undertaken by foreign-flagged ships jumped by 56.4 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07.

These figures which demonstrate the need for policies that can reinvigorate an Australian shipping industry.

Earlier this year I asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development to inquire into coastal shipping policy and make recommendations on ways to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector.

The Committee will report in October.

Australian sea freight 2006-07 report was prepared by Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ (BITRE), based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and port authorities and corporations.

The full publication can be downloaded is from

Media Contact: Jeff Singleton 0410 476 890

Thursday, 26 June 2008


• Australian Trading Fleet: Cargo vessels owned or operated by Australian companies to and from and within Australia.

• Single Voyage Permit (SVP) is issued to an unlicensed ship for a single voyage between designated ports for the carriage of a specified cargo or passengers.

• Continuing Voyage Permit (CVP) is issued to an unlicensed ship for a period of up to three months and enables it to carry specified cargo between specified ports for that period.


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