January 31 - In its latest monthly shipping index, Skelton Sherborne reports that machinery import volumes in Australia in December decreased by 28 percent to 2,469 units compared to the previous month.

Whilst the company says that this is a strong downward trend and of a magnitude it has not seen since immediately prior to the global financial crisis hitting Australia in March 2009, In comparison to previous years, this is still significantly higher than the number for December 2009 (1,650) and up 401 units for December 2010 (2,068).

The Brisbane, Australia-based international mining andconstruction equipment freight forwarder, adds that Customs FOB value fell from AUD569 million (USD603) in November to AUD503 million (USD533) in December a decrease of 12 percent which is in line with the decrease in the volume of larger mining equipment coming into Australia.

In January 2012, Skelton Sherborne introduced the Skelton Sherborne Tyre Index, which measures the amount of work currently underway in the mining and construction sector through the practical measure of tyres that are worn and need replacing as a result.

The Skelton Sherborne Shipping Index is published monthly and is available on the forwarder's website. It offers an indication of the state of the mining and construction industries by way of import activity into Australia. The index is created from data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the forwarder's own data.