ALC welcomes “common sense” report from Productivity Commission

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has said the release of the Productivity Commission report Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review provides a welcome injection of common sense into the national conversation about transport and urban planning policies.
The report noted that urban congestion is already costing Australia’s economy $19 billion each year, forecast to rise to over $31 billion by 2031 if remedial action is not taken.
The Association described the Commission’s observation that “infrastructure decisions could be enhanced by taking out the ‘Utopia’ factor in their preparation” as “sound advice for policy-makers at the federal, state and local government levels.”
“The message in this report is very clear,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff. “Unless we take definitive and practical action to address issues such as urban congestion and the efficiency of our transport networks, the nation’s economy and the wellbeing of its citizens will suffer.
“Freight Doesn’t Vote, ALC’s submission to the Discussion Paper on National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities – contains a comprehensive range of practical ideas drawn from the freight logistics industry that can help to address the challenges which the Productivity Commission has identified.”
“It is particularly pleasing to see the Commission making recommendations that align with many of ALC’s long-established policy positions,” Kilgariff added. “Including better alignment between freight movement and planning, that infrastructure proposals be subjected to a public cost-benefit analysis, that road funds be established from hypothecated road-related revenues, and that state and territory governments consider adopting a road user charging pilot program.
“As ALC has consistently said, policies which restrict or ban the movement of freight vehicles in particular areas, and especially in CBDs, are neither realistic nor desirable. It is heartening to see the Productivity Commission has drawn a similar conclusion, and calls upon governments to address the ad-hoc and anticompetitive planning policies that have given rise to the congestion problems that now bedevil our cities and their surrounds.”
 

ALC blasts vehicle ban plans

After speaking last week of the importance of freight-friendly urban planning, Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Managing Director Michael Kilgariff has further commented on the realities of banning commercial vehicles from using certain zones and routes.
“A central business district is, first and foremost, a place of business,” said Kilgariff. “If we want businesses to grow and create jobs, then ensuring they can get their goods delivered in a timely fashion is a fairly basic requirement.
“At the moment, a lack of adequate street loading zones, as well as new residential and commercial buildings with poor (or non-existent) freight delivery facilities are already making CBD delivery a more cumbersome and costly exercise.”
Kilgariff noted that banning vehicles from city centres altogether is “neither realistic nor desirable,” and suggestions that bicycle deliveries alone could accommodate the freight needs of CBD businesses and residents in high-rise CBD apartment complexes are “pure fantasy.”
“You cannot deliver a large screen TV, or a family’s weekly groceries, using a bicycle,” he added. “Our planning systems must facilitate efficient freight movement, while also protecting amenity.
“The movement of freight is essential to the everyday functionality of Australia’s cities. Without policy changes that facilitate greater efficiency in freight delivery, the primary purpose of our CBDs – to be places of business – is in jeopardy.”

ALC calls for freight-friendly urban planning

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has called for Australia’s urban planners to bear freight in mind when designing cities. Speaking at the recent Online Retail Logistics 2017, ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff noted that the country’s cities are not freight friendly, as a result of planning systems that fail to properly account for freight movement.
He added that the problem of complicated CBD deliveries is set to get worse unless remedial action is taken.
“Australia is already one of most highly urbanised countries in the world, and a significant proportion of the residential and employment growth projected to occur in the years ahead will be heavily concentrated in CBD areas,” the ALC said in a statement.
“It follows that the larger our cities grow, the larger the freight task gets. Accordingly, if we wish to grow our cities and ensure their continuing functionality and amenity, we must adopt policies which can support that increasing freight task. “
The ALC recognised that the default instinct in many Australian urban planning systems is to adopt policies that impede urban freight delivery, especially in CBD areas, by limiting access for heavy vehicles.
CBD delivery is made more cumbersome and costly, the ALC added, due to a lack of adequate street loading zones, as well as new residential and commercial buildings with poor (or non-existent) freight delivery facilities.
“Perversely, the growing difficulty of freight delivery in Australian cities is occurring during a period where growth in e-commerce is fuelling expectations of faster delivery timeframes and lower shipping costs,” the ALC said.

Boost for Adelaide–Melbourne rail freight productivity

Longer freight trains will soon be able to run between Adelaide and Melbourne thanks to a multimillion-dollar Australian Government rail network upgrade set to increase capacity by up to 20 per cent.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project would allow the accommodation of 1,800-metre trains, improving productivity on the busy line and supporting associated jobs.
“The upgrade will create a 20 per cent increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons,” Chester said.
“By investing $15 million in the project, we have created a situation where the maximum length of trains operating from Adelaide to Melbourne can be increased by up to 300 metres The longer, more efficient trains means less congestion for motorists and improved road safety, as well as cutting transport costs.
Chester said Victorian crossing loops at Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and South Australia’s Mile End loop, had all been extended to 1,800 metres.
“A 1,800-metre train carries the equivalent of more than 85 B-doubles’ worth of freight that would typically travel by road through South Australia,” he said.
“Moving more freight by rail is crucial to meet the expected doubling of freight demand over the 20 years to 2030 while reducing urban congestion.”
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) delivered the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project.
Additional track upgrades currently underway in Adelaide as part of the Torrens Junction Rail Project will provide a clear path for 1,800-metre trains all the way from Perth to Melbourne by late 2017.

ALC says freight “crucial” to city development

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has stressed the importance of efficient and safe supply chains in its submission to the House of Representatives’ enquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.
“The essential items most Australians take for granted – our food, household appliances, clothing, medications and cars, to name just a handful – are generally not grown or manufactured close to the cities where most of us live,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“Because of this, it is critical that as the Australian Government develops and implements their cities policies, adequate attention is given to the way freight moves in our cities.
“While urban renewal has become a policy priority for state and local governments, the reality is land-use changes, made to allow further residential and commercial developments, are increasingly impinging on the efficiency of Australia’s supply chains.”
Kilgariff added that operations at nationally significant infrastructure facilities including Port Botany, Fremantle Port and the Port of Melbourne are currently, or are at risk of, being constrained due to urban encroachment.
“A truly safe and efficient supply chain needs to be able to operate round the clock, so that freight movement is able to occur at all times and operators can take advantage of off-peak road traffic volumes,” he said.
“[The] ALC’s submission also discusses the importance of corridor protection. For example, a recent study by Infrastructure Australia (IA) found that, with adequate corridor protections in place, $66 million could be saved when a future freight rail line is constructed to the Port of Brisbane.
“A discussion on CBD freight delivery, the separation of passenger and freight infrastructure and insufficient integration of new and existing transport infrastructure also forms part of [the] ALC’s submission.”
The ALC will be appearing before the Committee to elaborate on its submission at a Public Hearing in Canberra on Friday, 11 August.
 
 

Highlighting the industry’s view

With the Federal Government having announced the composition of the expert panel that will advise on the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the real work of shaping its content is now well and truly under way.
It’s not indulging in hyperbole to say that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get this right. Australia’s rapidly growing population coupled with changing patterns of consumer behaviour – especially with the growth of e-Commerce – will impose significant additional demands on the freight and logistics sector.
Indeed, the National Transport Commission (NTC) estimates that Australia’s freight task will grow by some 26 per cent in the next decade alone. When you think of the capacity constraints that are already evident in some of our major cities, particularly growing traffic congestion, such forecasts can appear daunting.
Although it will require a significant degree of hard work on the part of the freight and logistics industry, I am nonetheless confident that we can come up with solutions that will allow us to meet this burgeoning demand.
We know that industry is willing to play an active role, and we know that the Federal Government’s agreement to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy shows decision-makers are willing to listen to industry’s advice.
Thus, our immediate challenge is to make certain the advice we provide is the right advice, which will help ensure the Strategy that emerges is the right one for our industry and the right one for the Australian economy.
I think there has been an encouraging start on this front.
At the beginning of March, the ALC held its annual Forum in Melbourne, and the entire focus of the event was discussing the content of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
Of course, we are not starting with a blank piece of paper. Many of the attendees at the Forum are leading figures within Australia’s freight and logistics industry, and throughout their many years of collective experience they have garnered insights and evidence that will prove invaluable in terms of getting policy settings right.
Although ALC Forum 2017 was the first industry-wide gathering since the Prime Minister’s announcement last November that the Government would develop the Strategy, the discussions revealed there is already a remarkable degree of consensus across the industry about what is required to make it effective. This is a strong basis from which to work.
To help synthesise the industry’s conversations to date, the ALC has produced a Working Paper that summarises the views of industry to date about the contents of the Strategy.
Some of the major themes addressed in that publication are as follows:
Urban encroachment issues
In the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, the ALC prepared a document called Getting The Supply Chain Right, which highlighted the freight and logistics industry’s most pressing priorities for an incoming government.
One of those was urban encroachment, and the lack of buffer zones, land separation setbacks and design mitigation measures around sensitive use developments, which can significantly hamper the efficient operation of freight-related infrastructure.
At the time, the ALC noted that the national freight supply chain will be unable to support Australia’s growing demand if facilities and infrastructure continue to be prevented from realising their optimal capacity, due to restrictions imposed on their use or operating conditions.
This includes things like night curfews for airfreight and port facilities, restrictive speed limits and the banning of heavy vehicles from key routes that provide access to freight facilities.
These things are often pursued by governments in search of an electoral boost. However, their long-term impact is to simply build inefficiencies into the supply chain, which ultimately results in higher consumer prices.
As industry ‘insiders’, we understand that there is a symbiotic relationship between good outcomes for freight efficiency and good outcomes for the community.
The problem lies in the fact that this is vastly underappreciated by the public at large, and even at times by decision-makers within government.
This is how we end up with poor planning outcomes, such as the failure to preserve freight corridors, and insufficient consideration of freight operations when pursuing ‘urban infill’ objectives surrounding new residential developments.
The freight and logistics industry needs to better ‘sell’ the fact that corridor preservation equates to improved safety, liveability and efficiency outcomes.
Technology issues
There was a broad consensus among participants at the Forum that not enough is being done to make use of data, both in terms of improving safety and efficiency across the supply chain, and also when it comes to effectively planning the nation’s freight infrastructure.
Of course, the top priority must be safety in the supply chain. Regrettably, Australia’s approach to safety in the trucking industry is lagging significantly behind that of other comparable nations. In particular, several participants at the Forum noted that Australia’s trucking industry is making insufficient use of telematics when it comes to making business decisions.
The ALC will continue to pursue a national telematics law, permitting the use of data about vehicle performance, equipment and driver behaviour that can be used to enhance road safety, improve efficiency within the logistics industry and identify problems with driver behaviour.
Technology also offers a potential way to overcome the impact of ever-more restrictive planning and vehicular access policies when it comes to CBD freight delivery. One detailed presentation discussed using urban consolidation/distribution stations. These can provide for multi-modal routing systems using bicycles, walkers and electronic vans to facilitate freight delivery.
It is far more efficient than using large vehicles to deliver small loads – especially given that an increasing number of large-scale residential developments do not incorporate delivery zones or provide access facilities for freight vehicles.
Rail issues
There is very strong support within the industry for construction of the Inland Rail, at last providing a port-to-port rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane. This project has had a long gestation, but with the increasing demand for freight resulting from free trade agreements and the growth of e-Commerce, encouraging more freight onto rail is vital.
Constructing the Inland Rail will help to cut freight transport times, reduce road congestion and promote cheaper consumer prices. There are also considerable economic benefits for regional communities along the route.
However, there are also opportunities elsewhere in the sector to make greater use of short-haul rail. This includes pursing projects like the duplication of the rail line at Port Botany, which will help achieve NSW Ports’ target of moving three million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) by rail by the year 2045.
Pursuing a rail connection between the Port of Melbourne and three of Victoria’s inland ports will also be important in promoting supply greater supply chain efficiency and addressing road congestion.
This issue is especially important in the context of Asia’s rapidly expanding middle class, whose appetite for the type of high-quality agricultural goods Australia produces will be a source of growing demand on our freight and export infrastructure. We must be mindful not to cede our competitive edge in this area by failing to have a supply chain that operates safely and efficiently from paddock to port.
The next steps
The ALC believes that a dynamic Strategy requires a dynamic consultation process to guide its development, and accordingly the ALC will be continuing to engage closely with industry over the coming weeks and months to make sure we get the right outcomes.
However, from the conversation thus far, it’s already apparent that there are some clear expectations from industry.
Existing freight infrastructure needs to be made to operate efficiently, through making sure planning instruments not only identify and preserve the industrial lands to provide the jobs and logistics facilities of the future, but also ensure new residential developments do not encroach on infrastructure and prevent its effective utilisation.
It will also be necessary to establish some form of mandatory system of data collection that will allow better decision making and improved outcomes in safety, planning and investment decisions, all of which will help boost productivity.
We will need to move towards hypothecation of levies, fees, taxes and charges raised for the purpose of developing an identified piece of infrastructure – so that money raised is invested properly and not put back into consolidated revenue.
The construction of Inland Rail must continue to be treated as a priority, ensuring rail as a modality has a clear place in moving freight in the Australian supply chain.
Great Commonwealth leadership needs to promote supply chain safety and efficiency – this includes helping the public at large understand the importance of supply chain efficiency, as well as incentivising state jurisdictions to consider freight needs in their planning instruments by making Commonwealth funding support subject to conditions such as having corridor preservation strategies in place.
Finally, the establishment of a specific Federal Department of Planning and Infrastructure will allow the Commonwealth’s expertise in these areas (including the development of funding mechanisms) to be concentrated and properly able to be used as resource, by industry and by other jurisdictions.

Adelaide on track to be Australia’s smartest city

Thanks to the city’s adoption of Big Data and Internet of Things analytics, Adelaide could soon be Australia’s smartest city, according to a global authority on the use of technology in government.
At the 2017 Australian Smart Communities Conference on 30 May, Adelaide was singled out as an example of government using technology to better its understanding of challenges.
Brett Bundock, Managing Director of geospatial technology company Esri Australia, said Geographic Information System (GIS) technology offers governments the ability to better understand their challenges.
“By integrating data sets from a variety of sources and visualising them across a time-space continuum, decision makers can see more clearly the cause and likely remedy of even the most complex of issues,” Bundock said.
“Adelaide is showing real leadership in this space. Areas such as driverless cars, smart lighting enabling lower energy consumption, environmental monitoring of CO2, sound and temperature to innovate solutions to improve the city and plans to make the capital a high-speed internet zone.
“The technology is here. By displaying Big Data, policy and program information on a map, a clear picture emerges that can show the best ways to target resources, track performance, and communicate with the public.”
Governor Martin O’Malley said that embracing advanced location-based analytics technology could help Australia support significant economic and social growth.
During his tenures as Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley was credited with cutting crime rates, improving healthcare, reducing government expenditure and taxes and transforming environmental management practices, earning him a reputation as one of the US’ most effective leaders.
O’Malley now heads the MetroLab Network, a collaboration between US cities and universities to develop technologically driven solutions to urban challenges.
O’Malley told attendees that GIS technology enables leaders to be on the front edge of the wave of change.
“When you have government, business community and thought leaders committed to embracing new technology, you can completely rethink how cities are planned and operated to develop economic and social growth,” he said.
“I’ve seen a new way of governing emerging – a change that’s being brought about by smart cities.
“Cities that understand that spatial intelligence allows us to better reduce crime, better manage traffic and understand what’s going on at any given point in time in our city. This visibility to see, track and act ultimately delivers better data-driven decisions.
“In Chicago – a city of 2.7 million people and growing – we’re installing more than 500 sensors on city streets by 2017 to understand the movements of pedestrians and vehicle traffic and measure air pollutants is expected to give a sound data-driven vision of the situation,” he explained.
“This will provide the basis for clear decisions based on evidence for solutions – things like public apps that display safe walking routes at night or apps that monitor air quality.”
 

London employers urged to ban online shopping workplace deliveries

In a recent speech to MPs in London, Val Shawcross, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, suggested companies help tackle urban congestion by banning employees from receiving goods ordered online at the workplace.
“We ought to be encouraging employers to ban private deliveries to premises in central London,” she said.
In her speech, Councillor Shawcross revealed that light vans now account for a fifth of traffic in the city centre.
According to The Standard, she added click-and-collect facilities at transport hubs should be promoted so that workers can collect their deliveries on their way home.
She also suggested that the £11.50 ($18.50) congestion charge be modified to charge extra for multiple trips, and extended into the evenings and weekends.

DHL trialling urban cargo delivery concept

DHL Express is currently trialling delivery by ‘cargo bicycle’ in the German city of Frankfurt and in Utrecht in the Netherlands, as reported by German newspaper The Local.
The cargo trailer–pulling bicycles which were first unveiled by the delivery company in April 2015 finally made it to active service this week.
The so-called ‘City Hub’ trailer carries up to four containers – up to 90 packages and 125kg, DHL said at the time, and replaces up to two delivery vans – saving more than 16 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
The city hub is a customised trailer that carries up to four containers for the logistics company’s ‘Cubicycle’ cargo bicycle.
The pilot scheme will see DHL vans transporting the trailers into the city centres where they will be loaded into bicycles for last-mile delivery. After delivery, the trailers can be filled for outbound delivery – with drivers expected to cycle up to 50km per day.
“DHL Express has already replaced up to 60% of inner-city vehicle routes in some European countries with cargo bicycles, and we expect that the City Hub and Cubicycle will both help us to accelerate this approach in other markets over the next three to five years,” said John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express Europe. “Bicycles offer a number of advantages in express delivery operations: they can bypass traffic congestion and make up to two times as many stops per hour than a delivery vehicle.
“The total cost of ownership over their lifetime is less than half of a van. And crucially, they generate zero emissions, which reinforces our own ongoing program to minimize our environmental footprint and supports city governments’ efforts to promote sustainable city living.”

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