With ocean freight costs skyrocketing from this time last year, it has posed a lot of questions about the future of importing and exporting major commodities to and from the shores of Australia. With most major shipping lines acting independently, they have been able to set rates at an all time high and continue to mismanage time slots for customers around the world.
With rising costs, transit times and prolonged waiting periods to clear containers across wharfs. What was once a reliable and affordable form of moving freight has now become one of the most volatile and unpredictable avenues for major global companies.
With a record amount of freight landing at Australian ports this year, supply chain experts warn future efficiency gains will be dependent on greater infrastructure connectivity and national consistency. With large numbers of vessels having to dock offshore and wait for weeks to unload at ports around the world, containers simply keep stacking up.
With the global economy also kicking back into action as the world comes out of lockdown, the demand for all forms of freight has continued to rise. The flow on effect of this will see further prolonged transit times across all major ports for the foreseeable future.
Industry analysts expect cargo volumes to rise over the next five years with growing consumer sentiment for a post-Covid economic recovery. To meet this challenge, port authorities and logistics officials say it is critical to maintain supporting infrastructure to enable planning certainty in order to meet the anticipated growth.
With exponential growth tipped for the foreseeable future it is important that Australian ports have the connectivity between the ports and the surrounding industrial land and warehousing areas to keep up. Allocating future industrial land near our ports will be a key factor in keeping up with the growth coming from this sector as the industry has already found it hard to keep up with current demand.
With several strategies currently in place to mitigate bottlenecks at ports, it is only a matter of time until the next growth phase will be upon us. With targeted infrastructure plans set in place to counteract the growth.
Ports need to continue to work with all levels of government to improve planning for freight in metropolitan areas to protect vital freight infrastructure, such as ports and key freight corridors, and ensure we can meet the growing freight task associated with a growing population and increasing consumption.
Ports around the country are already looking at upgrading their facilities to enable more and better use. Will the Australian ports be able to keep up as we emerge from a post covid world, only time will tell…?
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