March 8 - In its latest monthly shipping index, Skelton Sherborne reports that machinery import volumes in Australia in January increased significantly by 133 percent to 5,743 units.

In comparison to previous years this is over double the number for January 2011 (2,199). In comparison to previous years, this is significantly higher than the number for December 2009 (1,650) and December 2010 (2,068).

These figures are buoyed by two areas in particular: road making equipment (2,278 units) and tracked type lifting equipment (1,039 units). It is important to note that the tariff Items that these goods are classified to include smaller commercially sized machines which may have been imported in bulk during the current period.

The Brisbane, Australia-based international mining and construction equipment freight forwarder, adds that Customs FOB value fell from USD603 million in November to USD533 million in December, a decrease of 12 percent which is in line with the decrease in the volume of larger mining equipment coming into Australia. The volume of other heavy equipment has remained stagnant at 2,426 units for January versus 2,428 units for December.

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.