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Draft report
Report cover

Lifting productivity at Australia’s container ports: between water, wharf and warehouse - draft report

Ports Freight Shipping International trade Labour force productivity Australia

The long-term productivity of the maritime logistics sector is vital for supporting Australian businesses and communities to access and supply global markets at competitive rates. COVID-19 has stretched ports and shipping to their limits around the world. While there are limited steps the Australian government can take to address short to medium term global supply and demand pressures, we can examine the readiness of Australia’s maritime logistics sector — including ports and the workforces and infrastructure that connect them — to address the challenges of the future. Identifying the constraints and opportunities facing the maritime logistics sector will help improve the sector’s resilience and support Australia’s productivity.

The purpose of this inquiry is to understand any long-term trends, structural changes, and impediments that impact the efficiency and dependability of Australia’s maritime logistics system and connected supply chains. As part of this, the inquiry should have regard to operational cost drivers including industrial relations, infrastructure constraints, data sharing and technology uptake in Australia’s ports and related transportation networks in order to assess the overall competitiveness of Australia’s ports. The inquiry should also identify any mechanisms available to address identified issues.

Key points:

  • Higher productivity at Australia’s container ports is achievable and would deliver significant benefits.
  • Lack of competition in some parts of the maritime logistics system means consumers pay too much.
  • Workplace arrangements lower productivity — incremental changes to the Fair Work Act are needed.
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