Transport think tank meets

The Victoria Transport Association’s (VTA) Industry Think Tank has held its first meeting to set priorities for the freight sector.

VTA president Paul Freestone said: “Whilst there is no silver bullet, it is the little things that add up. As an industry, we recognise the need to raise our profile in advocating the case for change.

“Now is the time to clearly articulate the issues, outline the opportunities that can be acted upon quickly, and do it.”

The Industry Think Tank was established to provide a focus for the sector in generating ideas and actions that can immediately improve the sector.

Revolving around the urban freight task, the meeting has suggested low-cost options including sequencing of traffic lights, re-marking of lanes, implementing clearways during peak hours and the introduction of high productivity vehicles.

The meeting also brought up longer term issues such as completing the Melbourne road network, improving intermodal freight linkages and a prioritised list of infrastructure projects. 

VTA CEO and chairman of the Think Tank Philip Lovel said as the freight industry came to face an unprecedented challenge with cost increases, a collaborative approach was essential to find innovated solutions.

“The cost of moving goods is going through the roof. In the past the freight sector could achieve efficiencies that meant the consumers were insulated. These opportunities have dried up, and the public is about to experience some real price increased because of these cost rises,” Mr Lovel said.

“We need to get together to find new ways of doing business, and to take more cost out of moving goods. Otherwise, the public will simply pay more, and jobs will be lost in the community.”

Also proposed at the meeting were a number of trials and case studies to “give freight a go”, including after hours access trials to local businesses, a 24/7 taskforce to demonstrate the benefits of wider access, high productivity vehicle trials and a rail efficiencies summit to map an action strategy.

“The Industry Think Tank will pursue these issues to achieve some immediate wins and to advocate future change,” Mr Lovel said.

“We have to take a positive attitude to meeting the future freight task. It’s better to find mutually acceptable innovative solutions, rather than adopting a negative attitude that things can’t be done.”

Road industry think-tank to solve cost crisis

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA), chief executive, Philip Lovel, has announced that “As a result of the never-ending costs increases that are burdening the freight and logistics industry, the VTA is setting up an industry think-tank.”

The freight and logistics industry is going through the toughest times ever known, with many long-time industry stalwarts saying that cost increases will bring many companies down. The Victorian transport and logistics industry is one of the state’s largest sectors, employing more than 330,000 people and contributing more than 14 per cent of the state’s gross state product.

The VTA Industry Think-Tank aims to address a multitude of issues impacting on industry viability, such as:

• Customer demands.

• Cash flow / inventory costs.

• Compliance costs.

• Reduction in sub-contractors.

• Fuel Prices.

• Environment issues and carbon offsets.

• Interest rates.

• Plus many more.

Mr. Lovel said: “We don’t think either the politicians or the community in general understand the increasing burdens on the industry. Whilst they argue in Canberra about miscellaneous political issues, many companies are going to the wall. It is about time the politicians faced reality.

"We aim to work together to seek out opportunities for the industry. There are many things we can do together, to support each other and change the way we do business. This is our future, we have many talented people in our industry and we aim to use them.”

The VTA Industry Think Tank will address the issues above by working on the following:

• Develop new technologies for fuel savings, including higher productivity vehicles.

• Work on alternative fuels and taxation changes.

• Look at opportunities for bulk buying, especially fuels and oils.

• Lobbying with other industry organizations to achieve more influence at State and Federal level.

• Work with all our major customers to restructure delivery services and current operating restrictions.

• Work with the State Government to reduce Congestion (increase clearway times).

Mr. Lovel said: “If we all sit back and suffer then our businesses, Victorian community and Australia will suffer in general. We know the freight and logistics industry is the backbone of this country – it’s about time everyone pulled together. That’s what we are going to do, get on with it, get positive and change the way we do business.”

The VTA is now inviting specific industry and supplier representatives to the first Industry Think Tank session early in July. Visit www.vta.com.au.

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