Container numbers on the slide worldwide

All the current news on the global financial crisis really makes you wonder why we are steaming ahead with channel deepening.

AP Moeller-Maersk, the Danish owner of the world's largest container-shipping line, has said the container market will contract this year, with volumes dropping 20 per cent in January from a year earlier[1]. This means that container numbers through the Port of Melbourne are going to be lower too.  



All the current news on the global financial crisis really makes you wonder why we are steaming ahead with channel deepening. Some of our most significant trading partners are in a negative growth. ABC Lateline reported on 20th March that our largest export market, Japan, is now in deep recession, experiencing negative 5% growth. They’re not going to be spending up big on our Aussie made products are they? And Japan is just one of many countries in retraction – not producing as much for us to import, and not purchasing as many of our exports.  ABC PM on 25th March reported that Japan is unlikely to ever recover from its "recession". Not to mention that tens of millions of Chinese factory workers are reportedly without work as factory production in China, historically one of our biggest importers slows (World News ABC News Radio 24th March). So, there’s not as much stuff being produced to put into containers to ship around the world. It really begs the question how the economic rationale for the project, which used 5% annual growth every year until 2035, is stacking up.


All this might be why PoMC has embarked on its massive advertising campaign, with CEO Stephen Bradford recently revealing that the PoMC has allocated $4 million to their current suite of advertisements[2]. Perhaps they feel compelled to be jolly about channel deepening so as to counteract what now appears to be a glaring over estimate of 5% growth through the Port for the next 25 years. Only if we have 5% growth per annum for the next 25 years would the project deliver its supposed “benefits”. Well it’s starting to look like we aren’t going to get those “benefits”, only the costs and risks isn’t it?   


We are still stunned as to why the state owned Corporation thinks it needs to advertise the Port, which after all enjoys the status and protection of an Essential Service[3] and no serious competition from any other port in Victoria ……. so why spend taxpayers money on advertising it?   

Ships lying idle.


The shipping industry is providing clear evidence of the downturn in our economies world- wide. The image below, taken over Singapore harbour, shows hundred of idle ships – apparently with nowhere to go, and not much to carry ….so why have we just spent another $8.7 million on bringing an additional dredge here to hurry up the channel deepening project?



[1] Business Times 21st March 2009

[2] Port Phillip Leader 10th February 2009


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