The Port handles around one-third of Australia’s container trade, with operations generating total economic benefits worth approximately $7.5 billion to the national economy. During 2018-19, around 3 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU) of containers were handled by the Port, which is equivalent to 75 million revenue tonnes. According to Port of Melbourne’s 2050 Port Development Strategy released in 2019 the total container trade volumes are forecast to grow over the long term by 3.5 per cent per annum, from 3 million TEU in 2019 to around 8.9 million TEU by 2050.
The Port previously operated as a Victorian Government entity, however, in 2016 a 50-year lease of the Port was awarded by the Victorian Government to a private consortium comprising Future Fund, QIC, OMERS and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), for around A$9.7 billion.
After the Port’s acquisition in 2016, Port of Melbourne has continued to develop its sustainability strategy to ensure the sustainable growth of trade and operations. The Port provides various benefits to the economy, community and environment, including significant job creation; projects to improve water quality and ecosystem conditions; free education resources; and public engagement activities such as:
• boat tours;
• community grants, sponsorships and corporate social partnerships.
Additionally, in order to ensure alignment with growth projections, the Port has also engaged with government at relevant levels to develop the first stage of the 2050 Port Development Strategy.
The Port of Melbourne is the largest capital city container and general cargo port in Australia, handling more than one third of national container volumes. On average, the Port handles 850 vehicles per day and is visited by more than 2,600 vessels per year. The Port has around 60 tenants and more than 30 shipping lines call the Port of Melbourne each year
The Board’s Charter governs the goals of Port of Melbourne and ensures the overall development and management of the Port is achieved in a balanced and sustainable way.
The Port strives to facilitate the growth of trade in an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable way.
The Port of Melbourne is developing its sustainability strategy in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, the Port released its Sustainability Report and 2050 Port Development Strategy to outline the Port’s impact in economic, community and environmental terms. This includes investment into on-Port rail infrastructure to reduce dependence on road transport in the freight supply chain, community engagement activities and comprehensive environmental compliance activities that protect and enhance land and marine zones within the port’s surroundings. Plans for rail expansion are also examples of strong stakeholder partnerships, through which the Port will work with governmental departments at both the local, state and federal level to facilitate long term infrastructure planning.
Landlord Port model
Port of Melbourne operates within a landlord model and is responsible for asset maintenance, assessment and repair. Port operations are carried out by third party operators and service providers. These include stevedores, provedores, pilotage, towage and mooring services, and services relating to shipping operations.
Benefits to economy
• The operations of the Port generated total economic output benefits worth A$7.5 billion for the Australian economy in 2017-18. Out of this, Victoria received benefits worth A$6 billion, Tasmania A$600 million, with the remaining benefits largely going to New South Wales and South Australia.
• Benefits worth A$1.9 million are generated for the Victorian economy through each vessel visiting the Port of Melbourne.
• The Port’s functions across the import and export supply chain supported almost 30,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Australia in 2017-18. One-third of these jobs were directly related to the delivery of Port services. Additionally, the activities of the Port directly and indirectly supported around 20,000 full-time jobs for Victoria.
Benefits to environment
• The Port undertakes rock revetment improvement projects to improve riverbank stabilisation, which reduces soil erosion, improves water quality, and provides better ecosystem conditions.
• At the Swanson Dock East Rehabilitation Project, the Port of Melbourne was involved in designing and implementing a significant water retention and treatment process for the hydro demolition works.
• The staff of the Port uses its six hybrid vehicles to travel to and from the Port, which are approximately 33 percent more fuel efficient than petrol vehicles in 2018 based on fuel consumption and distance travelled.
• Port of Melbourne contributes to the clean-up of marine pollution, by working with ‘Ocean Crusaders’ and community volunteers to remove tonnes of plastic and debris from Port waterways. The activity is part of the ‘Paddle Against Plastic’ initiative and three river clean ups were conducted in 2019.
Benefits to community
• Public boat tours are conducted by Port of Melbourne to enhance community engagement and provide attendees with an up-close view of port operations. Tours are also part of Community Open Days and Melbourne Design Week, which attract thousands of attendees.
• Port of Melbourne provides a free Port Education Program for students at all education levels, thereby giving the students an opportunity to gain an insight into port operations, international trade and commerce, and logistics and supply chain management. This opportunity is given to all students irrespective of sex, ability or socio-economic status. More than 4,100 students participated in the program in 2019.
• Community sponsorships and grants are provided by Port of Melbourne for a range of groups and events that support community health and wellbeing, as well as environmental conservation.
• Public interfacing areas including walking and cycling paths, playgrounds and fishing jetties are maintained by Port of Melbourne and encourage locals and visitors to experience and enjoy the Port’s surroundings.
• Port of Melbourne established a corporate-social partnership program in 2018 with Foodbank Victoria, Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation, helping those experiencing food insecurity by delivering groceries, meals and school breakfast programs. The partnership also provides volunteering opportunities for Port of Melbourne employees.
• As a critical node in the supply chain, Port of Melbourne plays a key role in strengthening the connections to road and rail networks to ensure the efficient delivery of freight. Port of Melbourne is implementing a Port Rail Transformation Project that will see more containers moved by rail to reduce truck movements, ease road congestion, and improve air quality in residential areas that border the port. Port of Melbourne has a primary employee wellbeing program called the Movers and Shakers Team (MAST) that provides opportunities for employees to participate in various health knowledge and awareness activities including yoga classes, relaxation therapies, and health screenings. Port of Melbourne also maintains an Employee Assistance Program that provides counselling services to staff.
• As part of the Australian bushfire appeal, Port of Melbourne staff rallied to raise $7,500 for Foodbank bushfire relief and assistance which was matched by the organisation for a total donation of $15,000. Port of Melbourne also aided drought-affected farmers in southern and central New South Wales who were not able to feed their stock due to below-average rainfall.