The National Road Transport Association says Victoria’s decision to reinstate delivery curfews following its rollback of COVID-19 lockdowns could worsen an already choked supply chain in the run to Christmas.
The order waiving curfews that applied across all of Victoria expired on 5 November, while the Queensland Government reinstated its own delivery curfews in May.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says bottlenecks on the waterfront, industrial action, restrictions on inbound air mail and pandemic-related labour shortages were all creating a ‘perfect storm’ that was placing severe stress on the supply chain.
Of the larger jurisdictions, New South Wales remains the outlier where NatRoad successfully lobbied for an extension of curfews until March next year.
Warren says this is giving the State Government time to research the case for a possible permanent lifting of curfews in NSW.
“A 24/7 delivery schedule allows heavy vehicle drivers to make deliveries outside of peak hour times when the roads are less crowded,” he says.
“Trucks kept the country moving throughout the pandemic but it’s not just about heavy vehicles.
“Greater delivery flexibility benefits all road users by smoothing peaks and easing congestion.
“Curfews impact on safety because limited delivery timeslots interfere with truck drivers’ ability to manage their fatigue.”
“We are still recovering from a global pandemic and transport regulators should recognise that.”