Lead agencies


Enduring question 5.1a

What freight is moving to, from and around Australia, what is it comprised of, how are different industries affecting the volume and value of freight?

Gap addressed

National-level statistics to better understand the movement of freight to and from ports.


BITRE currently reports on Australia's international trade using trade data from the ABS, which is based on Customs information collected by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). This data provides information on commodity type, mode of transport (air or sea), freight volume and value, and port of origin and destination.

However, DHA also collects more detailed data that provides information on how freight is carried (for example, containerised versus non-containerised) and the location (postcode) of the importer or exporter.

In late 2016, the National Transport Commission (NTC) established a data sharing arrangement with DHA for the Australian Government, state and territory transport agencies to access confidentialised Customs import and export data, for the purpose of better understanding local movements of export/import freight. DHA has subsequently provide one year's worth of data, covering calendar 2017.

BITRE will develop an annual publication reporting domestic movements of import and export freight by end 2018.


Develop use case for the Customs freight data.

Project update

BITRE is currently scoping a use case for the Customs freight data, for inclusion as an issue in its Freightline series and thereafter as a regular statistical report.

Related publication

  • National Transport Commission (2017), Who moves what where: Better informing transport planning for Australians, information sheet, Melbourne.
  • BITRE Freightline series