Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told attendees at the 2014 IAPH conference in Sydney recently that the total international cargo handled by Australian ports increased last financial year by over 9% in value. “Importantly, our container ports have also seen improvements in multi-factor productivity, about 20% over the past decade – well above the economy-wide productivity performance, which has actually declined slightly over the same period,” Mr Truss said. “Berth productivity at all our container ports is now equal to or better than comparable international ports. Technology has contributed to this. But many believe there is still room for improvement. Our ports handled more than 320,000 cargo ship visits last financial year and that has been increasing by more than 5% a year for the past five years.” Australia’s bulk commodity exports and metropolitan container imports are both expected to double in size every ten years. “With that growth comes an equally strong need to harness smart stevedoring technology and improve the intermodal connections of landside transport modes to boost the efficiency of the supply chain”, he said. “Automated stacking cranes and other systems are significantly increasing container handling capacity and are providing a smooth and efficient flow through the terminal, which of course means better service for shipping lines, importers and exporters,” Mr Truss said. “Now, better service means increased productivity. And the coalition government recognises that the time has come to ensure that our freight infrastructure – including road, rail, intermodal terminals and ports – is geared to meet this growth.”