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Waterfront reform breaks through critical benchmark.

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28 March 2001 A41/2001


Today is a red letter day for the Australian waterfront, with the national average crane rate officially breaking the 25 container per hour benchmark set by the Government as part of its sweeping reforms, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, announced today.

“This Government’s waterfront reforms have delivered,” Mr Anderson stated. “This is a major achievement and one which the unions said was not possible.”

The Bureau of Transport Economics (BTE) today reported in Waterline that the five ports average crane rate had risen to 25.5 container movements per hour in the December quarter 2000, up from 24.9 in the previous quarter.

Waterfront productivity has improved dramatically since the Government’s reforms were implemented in 1998. The corresponding figure for the December quarter 1997 was just 18.5 containers per hour, meaning the average crane rate has risen by almost 40 percent in just three years.

In addition, the BTE report also highlights further improvements in the average ship rate (the productivity per ship while the ship is worked) from 38 in the September quarter 2000 to 39.5 containers per hour in the December quarter. The national index of port interface costs also shows a continued decline in real terms despite some increases in nominal terms.

“Waterfront productivity is vital for our export industries, especially our rural exporters. The Government’s reforms are about supporting our exporters and these results highlight the success of those reforms. They are reforms which would never have been achieved under Labor.”

Copies of Waterline can be found at

Media Contact: Paul Chamberlin: (02) 6277 7680 / (0419) 233 989

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Wednesday, 28 March 2001