• There is strong competition for skilled workers between ports both within Australia and internationally. This often translates into a transient workforce, with recurring skill shortages. Regional and remote ports generally experience more difficulties in attracting and retaining skilled workers than ports in capital cities.
  • The Maritime and Ports workforce is one of the oldest in the country and is ageing at a faster rate than other industries.
  • Higher-level skill needs are emerging related to new technology, such as automated cargo handling systems.


  • Some regional ports (particularly in Queensland) are forecasting a strong increase in container traffic as new local extraction projects come online, increasing local demand for skilled workers.
  • Automation is having an impact on the structure of work and skill requirements for both marine and land operations at ports.
  • Skills development opportunities exist in areas of cargo and land-based maritime operations in ports, including business skills, project management and engineering.
  • Creating opportunities for women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and new immigrants who are often well qualified but cannot access suitable jobs would widen the recruitment pool.
  • Stronger partnerships between industry and VET providers would improve industry-valued outcomes.
Maria Gidis
Maria Gidis
Policy Support Officer