Moving cargo from the East Coast to the West Coast of Australia is an expensive exercise. Domestic transport options include rail, road and the less known option of coastal shipping. As we look towards the future, Australia’s freight and logistics tasks will increase, and so will road freight costs. But recent attention by the Abbott government towards reforms in the Australian coastal shipping industry bring a glimmer of hope for companies that need to move freight from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide to Perth. Read on to learn more on recent developments in the coastal shipping debate and the cost and environmental benefits of coastal shipping.
History of coastal shipping in Australia
Coastal shipping has been connecting Australia since 1890, just two years before the company that preceded BCR, Frank Cridland Pty Ltd, began in 1892. Since this time, the coastal shipping trade has risen and fallen like a yo-yo based on the growth of alternative modes such as road freight and rail freight and the regulation of the Australian government. The coastal shipping trade has historically and is still serviced by both Australian flagged vessels and foreign flagged vessels. Shippers include farmers, mining companies, manufacturers and importers. At BCR, our coastal shipping service works specifically with companies that want a cost effective and reliable domestic freight option to move their containerised FCL freight from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide to Fremantle and then on to other areas of Western Australia including Perth.
Rocky waters for this domestic freight option
In 2010, in a bid to try and increase the use of more expensive Australian flagged vessels, the Labor government included certain foreign-crewed vessels working the domestic route within the Fair Work Act. And in 2012, the Labor government introduced new requirements around foreign-flagged vessels providing this domestic freight option. These two changes saw a decrease of approximately 10 million tonnes in freight in 2012-2013, when compared to the five previous years according to comments made by Brent Finlay, president of the National Farmers Federation. It is claimed that these changes were to arrest a decline in the Australian shipping industry.
In September 2014, Infrastructure minister Warren Truss made a speech focussed on the reform agenda of the Abbot government, and in this speech, he commented that arrangements regarding coastal shipping needed to be reformed. Three options for how the current system could be reformed are still being considered, but knowing that the government is interested in stimulating the coastal shipping trade is reassuring to hear.
Is coastal shipping a better option for my containerised freight?
In most instances, the answer to this question is yes. For many of our customers who access this service through us, it can take approximately 40 per cent off a company’s domestic freight moves from the East Coast to the West Coast. Coastal shipping is also the lowest carbon-emitting mode of transport on a tonne per kilometre basis when compared to other modes, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. To see how coastal shipping reduces domestic transport costs for SCA Hygiene Australasia,
Coastal shipping is a domestic transport option that is reliable and can assist in lowering domestic freight costs when shipping from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to Fremantle/Perth. The only way to know if it will work for you is to investigate. BCR specialises in domestic transport via coastal shipping so you can have confidence you are working experienced professionals.