Industry bodies have implored the state and federal governments to provide freight and supply chain workers with immediate access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Read more
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has called on the government to more carefully consider which additional freight and logistics assets will be subject to the national critical infrastructure legislation. Read more
The Australian Logistics Council says accelerated reform is required to support the industry through present and future challenges, following the 15th meeting of transport ministers. Read more
The Australian Federal government announced on April 1 that a new $110 million initiative will help the export market. Read more
The Asian Century is well and truly upon us, with data showing that Asian economies will be larger than the rest of the world combined and home to half of the world’s middle class by next year. Read more
Australian Logistics Council
Freight: Delivering Opportunity For Australia identifies 39 priority actions for the incoming Federal Government to pursue that address challenges and opportunities relevant to all modes of freight transport.
“The priorities ALC is releasing have been identified by industry participants as critical to improving the efficiency and safety of Australia’s supply chains, and meeting a growing freight task,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“With our industry having received a bipartisan commitment to finalise the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the first priority for whichever party wins on 18 May must be to work with state and territory governments to finalise and implement action plans that will ensure the strategy delivers for industry.
“In that context, the priorities ALC is now putting forward will help to bolster the effectiveness of that strategy by addressing some of the long-term infrastructure, investment and regulatory issues that act as an impediment to a seamless national freight network.
“Enhanced supply chain performance is not a niche issue. Every individual Australian relies on freight every day, no matter where they live. If we are going to meet the challenges that arise from a growing population and changing consumer expectations around rapid delivery, it will be necessary to implement the sorts of reforms ALC has set out.
“The priorities that ALC has identified touch on a range of issues, including a more consistent national approach to planning and investing in freight infrastructure, enhancing the productivity of our road and rail networks through regulatory reform and strengthening our export performance through enhanced freight infrastructure in Northern Australia.
“There are also suggestions for improving the industry’s environmental performance by encouraging uptake of electric freight vehicles, ensuring the industry is able to access data that will allow more effective monitoring and measurement of supply chain performance, improving the wider community’s understanding of this industry and enhancing its ability to interact safely with freight vehicles.
“While many of these reforms will be challenging, they are absolutely essential to securing Australia’s continued economic success and creating more liveable communities.
“Although this reform agenda must be led by whichever party forms government, success will ultimately depend on cooperation and collaboration with all members of the 46th Parliament. It is important that all parliamentarians recognise that responsibility, whatever their political stripe.
“To that end, ALC will seek to work closely with all political parties in the next Parliament to secure these policy reforms, and implement a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy that allows this industry to keep delivering for all Australians.”
Australasian Railway Association
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also released its priorities policy development paper for the 2019 federal election.
Titled Rail: Creating Vibrant Cities, Thriving Regions and a Connected Nation, the paper sets out key transport infrastructure challenges facing the Australian government and offers practical, affordable and achievable policy solutions where rail can play a key role.
“As our cities continue to grow and our freight task increases the pressure on our existing infrastructure network also increases,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“Avoiding and reducing congestion is one of the biggest benefits that can be achieved by moving passengers and freight onto properly planned and funded rail solutions, integrated with other transport modes.”
The ARA’s five priorities are:
- Making cities liveable: the Australian government must continue to increase funding of urban passenger and freight rail projects which are essential to reduce road congestion, improve quality of life and increase productivity.
“With increasing support from both main political parties for passenger and freight rail projects, we look forward to this continuing and urge against stop start approaches to rail infrastructure funding.”
- Connecting our regions: the Australian government must plan and resource inter-regional fast rail projects and east coast high speed rail through a national planning agency.
“Pleasingly, both major political parties now support the establishment of a national planning agency to underpin their respective visions for inter-city rail connectivity, examine funding options and acquire the sought-after corridors.”
- Supporting employment: Skilled labour shortages threaten the delivery and cost effectiveness of new and existing rail infrastructure projects. The Australian government needs to lead the response to critical rail skills shortages by formalising a high level taskforce to lead reforms, build partnerships and implement expert recommendations to deliver fit-for-purpose education and training.
“If we are to reap the benefits of rail, industry and government need to make the necessary reforms together and increase investment in fit-for-purpose education and training.”
- Strengthening our economy: We need safer, more sustainable and efficient ways to move freight by rail. The Australian government needs to implement the national freight and supply chain strategy and incentivise jurisdictions to support its delivery. The ARA urges continued funding and political support of the Inland Rail project to ensure its timely delivery.
“The government also needs to level the playing field between road and rail. We need independent price regulation of heavy vehicles and mode neutral policies. Freight rail operators, charged at full market rates to access infrastructure have endeavoured to compete with heavy vehicles that access publicly subsidised roads.”
- National coordination to support industry: Rail contributes $26 billion to the national economy, while employing thousands of Australians in many small to medium size enterprises. However, its efforts are dissipated by fragmented approaches to investment, procurement, construction and regulation across eight different jurisdictions.
“Strong industries don’t develop by chance. The Australian government must lead the development of a national rail industry plan to achieve a coherent national approach to rail, covering procurement, local content, manufacturing, innovation and research, and harmonisation of standards.”
“We look forward to working with government to realise the full national benefits of these rail policies,” Mr Broad concluded.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed confirmation that the federal election will be held on 18 May.
The election announcement coincided with the inaugural meeting of ALC’s Northern Australia Working Group, which took place in Darwin.
“It is fitting that the election announcement has come on the same day that ALC’s newly-formed Northern Australia Working Group meets for the first time, because so much activity in this region underpins Australia’s economic performance,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“Our Working Group brings together freight logistics companies, infrastructure owners, local and state government representatives and other key industry organisations to advocate more effectively for investment in Northern Australia’s freight infrastructure, and work with policy makers to get regulatory settings right.”
“ALC has formed this Working Group because we recognise that Australia’s ability to take full advantage of free trade agreements recently signed with rapidly growing Asian markets rests on our ability to get our export products to market, efficiently and safely.”
“It is vital to make certain that Northern Australia has the road, rail, port and air freight infrastructure necessary to get products demanded by our trading partners to their destination as quickly as possible. This is particularly important when it comes to agricultural goods and other consumables, where freshness is highly prized by overseas customers.”
“Enhanced supply chain performance in Northern Australia is important for the entire nation, because freight does not stop at state borders. A key focus for the next Parliament must be to ensure greater national consistency in our approach to the movement of freight.”
“In the coming days, ALC will be releasing a comprehensive statement of the freight logistics industry’s policy priorities for next Parliament.”
“Chief among these will be to build on the bipartisan commitment to finalise the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, and work with state and territory governments to ensure its effective implementation, so that Australians can share in the benefits that come from improved supply chain performance – wherever they live,” Mr Coningham said.
The Infrastructure Priority List recently released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) has won widespread approval in the freight sector, including the Australian Logistics Council, Australasian Railways Association and the Australian Trucking Association.
ALC: The priority list highlights freight infrastructure opportunities
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said the Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) highlights continued need for targeted investment in freight infrastructure projects that will enhance supply chain efficiency and safety, and make Australia more internationally competitive.
“It is essential that Australia makes infrastructure investment decisions that are based on sound principles and evidence-based assessments regarding a project’s capacity to contribute to our economic strength, and liveability of our communities,” said ALC chairman Philip Davies.
“In the past, the Infrastructure Priority List has helped to build support for investment in critical freight infrastructure projects which are now being undertaken, including Western Sydney Airport, Inland Rail, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and more recently the Port Botany freight rail duplication, which was supported in the 2018 Federal Budget.”
“It is especially pleasing to note this year’s list again includes the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy as a high priority initiative.”
“To further boost the effectiveness of that Strategy when it is released later this year, ALC urges governments to prioritise investment in key freight-related initiatives IA has included in this year’s list, including:
- Upgrading Chullora Junction to enhance Sydney’s freight rail network;
- Constructing the North East Link in Melbourne to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance freight efficiency;
- Pursuing a dedicated freight rail connection from Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane;
- Enhancing capacity and traffic flows on the Mitchell and Kwinana Freeways in Perth;
- Completing the upgrade of the Adelaide North-South road corridor to enhance capacity and efficiency of freight movement to the airport and port precincts;
- Investing in road and rail improvements on the Burnie to Hobart freight corridor;
- Implementation of the Advanced Train Management System on the ARTC network; and
- Establishing a national electric vehicle fast-charging network to overcome ‘range anxiety’ among freight logistics operators.
“Australia must do everything possible to eliminate capacity constraints in our freight networks if we wish to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market. Securing investment in these priority projects will help to deliver that outcome.”
ARA backs IA’s strong rail focus in Infrastructure Priority List
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) 2019 Infrastructure Priority List.
“IA plays an important role in identifying key infrastructure problems and opportunities to ensure investment is appropriately targeted to areas of greatest need,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“The rail projects included in IA’s 2019 Infrastructure Priority List are important nation-building initiatives and are endorsed by the rail sector,” he continued.
“Pleasingly, there are more rail projects and initiatives in the report compared to the 2018 Infrastructure Priority List, with 54 of the 125 projects and initiatives rail-related.
“As Australia’s population grows, rail infrastructure will increasingly become the backbone to meet Australia’s growing passenger and freight needs. To manage the challenges posed in our cities and regions in the long-term, Australia will need to ensure that it continuously invests in rail infrastructure.
“We know that rail is an efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial mode of transport. We also know that rail has lower emissions than road transport, is safer and can help reduce congestion in our cities.
“The significance of these rail projects identified by IA warrants investment from governments at all levels. Our networks of infrastructure and services connect people and communities, support freight transport across the country, help deliver our resources to overseas markets and continue to generate economic growth and employment,” he said.
ATA welcomes updated Infrastructure Priority List
Infrastructure Australia’s updated Infrastructure Priority List illustrates the importance of evidence-based investment decisions, chairman of the Australian Trucking Association Geoff Crouch said.
“The Infrastructure Priority List provides critical focus on the need to invest in safer regional roads and fixing urban congestion,” Mr Crouch said.
“The new project calling for regional road network safety improvements to invest in fixing high-risk sections of regional roads and deliver safer road infrastructure is a critical priority.
“Infrastructure Australia reports that relative to population size, the number of fatalities in regional areas is over four times higher than for major cities.
“This project now requires government support across Australia, and the ATA strongly welcomes the inclusion of a similar new project by the NSW Government to make regional road safety improvements in NSW.
“Governments should also support the call for a roads network optimisation program to address urban congestion.
“First added to the priority list in 2016 but still without a government proponent, Infrastructure Australia has again reconfirmed the need for governments to make multiple, co-ordinated, productivity enhancements to the road network to reduce congestion.
“These investments should be based on data and seek to optimise traffic flows through investments such as intersection treatments, traffic light sequencing, clearways and incident management.”
The ATA also welcomes the continued inclusion and expansion of projects to address major road investment priorities.
“There’s a long list of proposed road, highway and motorway projects which would make a significant investment to improving safety, connectivity and productivity on the road network,” Mr Crouch said.
Future updates to the Infrastructure Priority List should expand the network-based focus on improving roads to include regional and outback highways and corridors.
“The need to make better use and enable more productive connectivity extends beyond our major cities and their rural hinterlands, and Infrastructure Australia should include network optimisation and access for investing in better regional and outback highways in future priority list updates,” Mr Crouch said.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is disappointed that the final report of the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles has missed clear opportunities to boost the uptake of EV in the freight logistics sector.
“There is clearly a willingness within this industry to move towards greater use of EV in freight delivery. It is disappointing that the committee has not supported that positive attitude by explicitly addressing freight vehicles in its recommendations to the government,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“It is especially perplexing that the committee recommends establishing national EV targets for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and metropolitan buses – but is silent on establishing a similar target for heavy vehicles.
“It is similarly disappointing that the report did not take the opportunity to recommend a review of the Australian Design Rules, to that they can better accommodate the unique size and shape of some electric freight vehicles.
“ALC is pleased that the report does make recommendations on some of the issues raised in our submission, including the need to facilitate the rollout of charging infrastructure and ensure the energy network is able to sustain a reliable supply of energy to power EV.
“However on the whole, these recommendations fall well short of the type of action that is needed to hasten the uptake of EV in the freight logistics sector.
“One opportunity that was clearly missed was a recommendation to establish a Low Emission Vehicle Contestable Fund, similar to one already operating in New Zealand.
“Indeed, the report specifically refers to the New Zealand fund in its commentary and notes its benefits – but does not follow through by recommending a similar initiative for Australia.
“Just last week, the New Zealand Government announced a further round of projects to be supported though its fund, including projects specifically focused on the freight sector designed to showcase the capabilities of long-haul heavy electric vehicles.
“Similar initiatives will need to be adopted in an Australian context if freight logistics operators are to be encouraged to incorporate EVs into their own operations. This is something ALC will be pursing in its pre-Budget submission and in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.
“The ALC’s Electric Vehicles Working Group will continue to pursue these matters with all political parties in the lead up to this year’s federal election,” Mr Coningham said.
The new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, has spoken to Logistics & Materials Handling about his new role, Australia’s upcoming big-ticket projects and the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
“Small regional communities hold a special place in Australia,” he said. “Our vital supply-chain sector, road and rail, accounts for approximately 10 per cent of GDP and plays a pivotal role in supporting enhanced productivity and economic growth.”
He noted that investment in national roads, railways, improved port access, intermodal links, and the upgrade of hundreds of ageing bridges would have long-term benefits for all those using Australia’s transport networks, including public transport and heavy vehicles.
“I look forward to working with the freight and logistics sector to build on the progress that has been made through partnerships with all levels of government and industry to deliver a sustainable, safer and reliable freight network,” McCormack added.
He also shared his excitement for receiving the final report of the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities from the Expert Panel, which is likely to be unveiled at the ALC Forum, which is taking place this week.
“It is pleasing to hear of the strong interest and support the Inquiry process has received from industry, and I look forward to working with my state and territory counterparts to address priorities raised through the development of a national freight strategy,” he said.
“Acting on these priorities will not only help drive the productivity improvements necessary to sustain and raise Australia’s standard of living and economic growth, but will also help to improve safety and environmental outcomes of the national freight sector.”