We can't delay the hard decisions

This article first appeared in the August/September issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.
By Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, Australian Logistics Council.
In the lead-up to the 2016 Federal Election, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) urged the development of a comprehensive National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to address these challenges.
The Federal Government subsequently agreed to undertake the development of such a strategy during the Prime Minister’s Annual Infrastructure Statement to the Parliament in November 2016.
Throughout the months of 2017, the ALC has been working closely with its members, supply-chain participants and other interested parties to catalogue the unique challenges faced by the transport and logistics sector, and to craft recommendations for appropriate policy responses from the Government.
The ALC believes the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy presents an ideal opportunity to establish a high-level framework that will facilitate the safe and efficient operation of Australia’s supply chains, which will:

  • provide an integrated and efficient freight transport and supply chain network for Australia’s international and domestic supply chains;
  • to the fullest extent possible, ensure that policy settings and regulation are competitively neutral between the different freight transport modes;
  • allow freight operators to innovate and increase the productivity of the freight logistics services they provide, in order to improve outcomes for consumers, Australia’s industries and the wider economy; and
  • contribute to continuous improvement in the safety of all freight logistics operations, as well as improved societal and environmental outcomes.

In early August, the ALC released Freight Doesn’t Vote – its final submission to the Inquiry Into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities. This comprehensive document sets out a pathway that will equip the nation’s supply chains to deal with the economic needs of the future.
The reality is that Australia’s economy is being transformed by population growth, by technological change and by the changing behaviour of ever-more-discerning and empowered consumers. Like all other industries, the freight logistics sector must adapt to an economy in transformation.
Moreover, given the exponential growth of the middle class throughout Asia, and thus the importance of exports to Australia’s continuing economic performance, becoming a world leader in supply-chain efficiency and safety is not merely desirable, but essential.
The lived experience of Australian society over recent decades points to increasing levels of urbanisation. Effectively, this means we are trying to do more in a limited physical space.
In particular, resurgence in the desirability of inner-city living coupled with rapid rates of population growth present some urgent challenges for our freight logistics industry.
The essential items that most Australians take for granted in everyday life – food to eat, household appliances, clothing, medications and vehicles to name just a handful – are generally not grown or manufactured close to the places where most of us live.
These commodities must be transported from their point of origin to the retailers from which we purchase them, or otherwise delivered directly to our doorsteps from ports, freight depots or warehouses.
Yet, as we create more populous cities, it is fast becoming apparent that our existing planning regimes and approaches to development fail to adequately prioritise the movement of freight.
The congested state of many major freeways and key arterial roads – as well as traffic gridlock within cities themselves – is a constant source of annoyance for many Australians. However, more than simply being an irritation, these problems are symptomatic of a far deeper issue.
Capacity constraints in the road network are not only a problem for motorists – they also impose significant costs on the freight logistics industry.
The disruption to the supply chain that occurs because of road congestion as well as capacity issues afflicting ports, airports and rail freight facilities all have an impact on the cost of moving freight – and ultimately, the prices paid for goods by Australian consumers.
Australia’s supply chains do not stop at state borders. Our economy is national – and accordingly a nationally consistent approach to infrastructure and the regulation of freight movement is required.
In an ideal world, a national economy should be managed by the national government. This includes the responsibility for the development of the infrastructure and regulatory settings necessary for the nation’s supply chains to operate safely and efficiently.
In many circumstances, the Australian Government has encouraged the development of individual pieces of infrastructure through financing. However, many of the decisions relating to the planning and delivery of such projects are made by state and/or local governments.
This is the reality of Australia’s federal structure. Like all other industries, the freight logistics sector must work within the restraints imposed upon it by the Australian Constitution.
The unfortunate by-product of this constitutional reality can often be duplication and delay in achieving the sort of policy reform that industry – and the entire economy – badly needs.
Freight Doesn’t Vote makes a total of 41 specific policy recommendations, dealing with challenges faced by all modes of freight transport, as well as the inefficiencies that are acting to curb growth, and regulations that fail to adequately account for a changing economic environment.
Unless freight movement is given far greater consideration when planning decisions are made, business and consumer expectations about rapid and efficient delivery of goods will be difficult to meet in the future.
This is particularly true of CBD freight delivery, where competition for road space between passenger and commercial vehicles is already adding to business costs and consumer prices.
Continuing investment in infrastructure that permits deliveries from freight distribution centres to CBDs is critical if we are going to successfully meet our increasing freight task.
Some form of freight-only infrastructure should be considered by governments to improve freight delivery and decrease congestion and emissions in high-demand environments.
This may include the establishment of urban consolidation centres for freight delivery, as well as the adoption of ‘reverse curfews’, which would provide freight vehicles with the right of access to parts of the road at non-peak times, in order to improve efficiency of deliveries.
In its submission, the ALC contends that this is one area where the Federal Government can play a leadership role, by incentivising the incorporation of such measures in urban planning systems, and commissioning a formal review of practices such as curfews that inhibit efficient CBD freight delivery.
Freight Doesn’t Vote also urges the Federal Government to prioritise greater use of technology enhance the efficiency and safety of our freight networks.
This includes assisting small and medium providers with the adoption of global data standards to enhance supply-chain visibility, and moving towards the mandatory use of telematics in heavy vehicles as a means of improving driver safety and establishing a fairer, more effective model for road pricing.
Blunt instruments such as fuel excise charges and registration fees are no longer raising sufficient revenue to support the road network of a 21st-century economy.
As such, it is imperative that we move to a fairer, more efficient road pricing and investment model, under which users pay according to where and when they travel.
Technological enhancements, such as GPS tracking, now make it easier than ever to monitor vehicle use.
It is time to use these technologies as the basis of a fairer, more responsive approach to road pricing which delivers investment where it is most needed – not where it is most politically expedient.
This measure will undoubtedly produce its fair share of controversy.
In its submission, the ALC recommends that in order to manage that, it will be important to have a respected, independent umpire in charge of making pricing decisions. The ALC suggests that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the most appropriate body.
To ensure its effectiveness as an independent economic regulator for the transport sector, it may be prudent for the ACCC to appoint a specialist Commissioner to deal with transport and logistics issues.
Further, the ACCC should establish a specialist unit to identify regulatory issues in the transport sector, working closely with industry stakeholders and state and local governments to ensure a pricing approach that delivers the right investment outcomes.
Freight Doesn’t Vote does not shy away from recommending initiatives that may prove to be politically challenging in the short term – particularly when it comes to having greater Commonwealth involvement in planning, as well as road pricing and investment reform.
The political challenges associated with pursuing difficult reforms now, however, will be as nothing compared with the political and economic pain that will be the lot of future governments if we fail to get the policy settings right today.

Aceit Couriers celebrates 20 years of business

South Australian owned and operated family business Aceit Couriers is celebrating 20 years of operations this month.
According to Mal Geddie, Founder, Aceit Couriers, reaching the milestone was a very emotional achievement, fulfilling his dream of not only building a successful business that would stand the test of time, but also creating jobs, opportunities and security for his family.
“Looking back on how it all started, I can honestly say that the first six months were the toughest times I had ever experienced in business.” he said. “It put a lot of pressure on me and my family, but we shouldered it together and today, despite its growth, Aceit Couriers still has a family feel to it, it’s just part of who we are.”
Leaving school without graduating, Geddie worked several jobs, including driving taxis part time. He worked his way up to become Managing Director at an Adelaide taxi companies and orchestrated industry changing initiatives such as the introduction of Cabcharge and access taxis for passengers with disabilities.
Geddie founded Ace Couriers in 1997, starting with four vehicles and three bicycles. He renamed the business Aceit Couriers in 2006, and the company now employs 18 operations staff and has more than 140 contractors and vehicles and bicycles on the road, delivering anything from envelopes to 20-ton freight to customers – and even the odd snake – across Adelaide, regional and remote South Australia and interstate.
Geddie said several factors contributed to the growth and success of Aceit Couriers, including technology, operating systems, staff training and internal culture. “We were – and still are – up against big multinational competitors offering similar services, so we have to make sure our offering is second to none, exceeding clients’ expectations and delivering smooth transactions every time,” he said.
“We partnered with a local software developer early on to create our own dispatch system with accounting capabilities, allowing our staff to work more efficiently, and we gave our customers real-time access to their job, tracking its status and producing a delivery report upon completion.
“We were also amongst the first in the industry to equip our drivers with mobile-phone like devices to receive job details and instructions, with reporting functionalities of when and where goods were left, which proved particularly useful when delivering to often unmanned building sites.”
Aceit Couriers now handles more than 3,000 accounts across all industry sectors, including health, government and construction.

AusPost to trial delivery robots in Brisbane

Australia Post will launch a four-week robot delivery pilot service in Brisbane on 13 November, the Courier Mail has reported.
In the first such Australian trial, residents in the suburb of New Farm will be able to register and opt to have parcels delivered by an autonomous robot to their door between 6pm and midnight.
For the trial, the robot will be accompanied by a human Australia Post chaperone and will carry one parcel at a time.
Upon arrival at the residence, a text message will be sent to the recipient of the parcel, to open the parcel locker they simply need to reply to the message.
“The small-scale trial will explore if there is customer demand to receive after hour deliveries via a mobile parcel locker,” said an Australia Post spokesman.
“It’s important we get this right and we will only continue exploring this technology where there is community support.”

Amazon launches in-home delivery service

In early November, e-commerce company Amazon launched Amazon Key, an in-home delivery service enabling online shoppers to receive goods when not at home.
Amazon Key offers US members of Amazon’s premium Prime service free in-home delivery after installation of the Amazon Key kit, which includes the Amazon Cloud Cam to record entries and a range of lock systems.
After selecting the ‘in-home’ delivery option when shopping, Prime members can follow the order with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live via the Cloud Cam and later review the delivery.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President – Delivery Technology, Amazon. “Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”
The technology doesn’t replace a key with a digital passcode, instead each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. Deliveries are also covered by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.
Amazon Key will also offer an option for residents keen to allow access to their property to friends and service providers when not at home.
Amazon Key has initially been made available in 37 cities across the US.

Toll Group safety manager joins ANC as CoR lead

Home delivery fleet ANC has announced the appointment of Matthew Wheatley to the newly created senior role of National Chain of Responsibility (CoR) Compliance Manager.
In his new role, Wheatley is responsible for achieving all transport industry safety and CoR legislation, regulations and compliance requirements while developing the company’s safety culture. He reports to ANC Managing Director, James Taylor.
“I’m delighted to welcome Matthew to the ANC team as we continue to build and invest in this priority area of our business,” said Taylor. “Matthew brings extensive experience and knowledge to our growing team dedicated to safety. At ANC, we’re committed to safety, health and environment throughout the supply chain – from our offices to warehouses; on and off the road; and from client sites to customers homes.”
Wheatley has held a range of senior health, safety and compliance roles, most recently as Regional Health and Safety Manager for the IPEC business unit of Toll Group. Prior to Toll Group, he held the position of National Safety Manager – Heavy Haulage and Lifting at Kings Transport.

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.”

Port Botany

How the humble shipping container has revolutionised the way we live

Discover how the humble shipping container has revolutionised the way we live in new outdoor exhibition at the Maritime Museum

Container – the box that changed the world – opens 26 October 2017

In today’s global world you may have drunk coffee from Brazil or a smoothie containing frozen fruit from China. You could be wearing clothes made in India, watching a TV made in Japan, while sitting on a sofa containing wood from Argentina on a laminate floor manufactured in Sweden. All of this has been made possible by a rectangular steel box – the shipping container.
Container, an exciting new exhibition housed entirely in six 20-foot shipping containers at the Australian National Maritime Museum, will lift the lid on the history and impact of containerisation and the way the humble shipping container has revolutionised the way we live.
The exhibition opens in late October, when visitors can literally ‘step inside the box’ to learn about shipping, ports, cargo, the impact of containerisation on the ocean, the origins of everyday objects and even container architecture.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.08.39 pm
@iakderboss, via Instagram.

 
Inside the ‘Ship’ container, the history of the cargo industry before the invention of the container and the impact of its introduction are explored. From transporting goods in crates, bales, sacks and barrels loaded by hand, the container now allows the world’s 1.5 million seafarers to deliver 10 billion tonnes of trade each year.
‘Cargo’ looks at trade, customs, biosecurity and how perishable goods are transported around the world in the cold chain. The ‘Port’ container talks about the radical transformation of ports and port cities in Australia and around the world. It also gives visitors a peek behind the scenes at Port Botany, one of Australia’s busiest ports and the gateway for 99 per cent of New South Wales’ container demand.
 
DPWorld_Crane_PLS2117_Fremantle
Peter Le Scelle, courtesy DP World.

 
‘Ocean’ looks at the challenges mass shipping poses to our oceans, including lost shipping containers, cargo spills and acoustic pollution, and the current focus on sustainable shipping.
The quirky and innovative ways containers are used beyond shipping, including ‘small homes’, food trucks, art installations and even swimming pools are uncovered in ‘Build’. ‘Things’ is a glass-fronted container with a shop front–style window display demonstrating the origins of everyday objects in our homes. The total number of kilometres travelled by sea by all the products in this container is 887,082km.
“As an island nation, 99 per cent of Australia’s trade is conducted by sea freight,” said Peter Dexter AM, Chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum. “The Container exhibition highlights the importance of this industry and how it touches all of us. We are excited to be sharing this often overlooked story to the many people who visit Darling Harbour in such an innovative way.”
The exhibition has been embraced by the shipping industry with a large number of its key organisations coming on board to provide essential support to tell this important story. Major sponsor is NSW Ports, who has played a key role in the development of the exhibition. Sponsors are ACFS Port Logistics, Maritime Container Services, DP World Australia and Smit Lamnalco. Supporters are Transport for NSW and Shipping Australia. The containers are supplied by Royal Wolf and the Precinct Partner is Property NSW. It is supported by the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund.
Container is located in front of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Wharf 7 building on Pirrama Road. The free exhibition opens on 26 October and will run until late 2018 before touring locations across New South Wales. For further information visit www.anmm.gov.au/container
HC151263_Brisbane
Josh Kelly, Jack Harlem Photography, courtesy DP World.

 

Small online retailers expect to grow their business with Amazon

With the arrival of Amazon causing heated debate among industry experts and retailers alike, new research from parcel delivery service CouriersPlease reveals smaller online retailers are more likely to welcome the e-commerce giant than larger online retail businesses, and see it as an opportunity to grow their business.
CouriersPlease conducted a survey among its online retailer customers to gauge sentiment about the arrival of Amazon.
Of the 193 online retailers who took part in the survey, more than 59 per cent see Amazon’s arrival as an opportunity to grow their business to Australian and international customers. The percentage consistently increased the smaller the size of the business: 62 per cent of micro businesses, 56 per cent of small businesses, 53 per cent of medium-sized businesses, and 33 per cent of large businesses would welcome Amazon.
The survey also revealed that 63 per cent of online retailers – and 74 per cent of small online retailers – believe Amazon will not compete with their business.
Attitudes among online retailers, however, are in stark contrast to shopper behaviour. CouriersPlease research in June found that 90 per cent of Australian online shoppers admitted they would purchase from Amazon if it fulfils its promise to deliver low prices, vast selection and fast delivery.
“Amazon is a disrupter and it’s likely that its arrival will change not only the retail sector, but also the logistics industry,” said Mark McGinley, CEO, CouriersPlease. “Like every disruptor in the market, Amazon is customer-focused and local businesses wanting to compete will need to look at how they can add value to the customer. There is no doubt that the competition will make us all better at what we do.
“Australian online shoppers have told us that they will redirect their purchases to Amazon if it can deliver more of what customers want. It’s no surprise that smaller online sellers see Amazon as a partnership opportunity, to enable them to reach more local and overseas customers.”

Fastway Couriers wins International Franchisor of the Year

Fastway Couriers has won the International Franchisor of the Year Award for the second time in three years, in recognition of its Blu Couriers and Parcel Connect innovations.
Parcel Connect taps into the business hours of local stores and petrol stations to provide a close and convenient drop off and collection point for both customers and Fastway’s franchisees, while the Blu Couriers platform supports Fastway’s franchisees by providing with an on-demand, trained workforce to meet forecast and unexpected spikes in deliveries.
“With three in every four Australians shopping online, and given our business’ rapid transition from B2B to B2C, Fastway Couriers is continually looking for ways to best meet the needs of our franchisees and their customers,” said Peter Lipinski, CEO, Fastway Couriers Australia.
“We’ve transformed our thinking here at Fastway as we continue to evolve in order to help our regional franchisees and 1,000 courier franchisees capture more of the e-commerce market and better manage the growing volume of deliveries while also growing their business.”
The company also attributed its success in part to international courier company Aramex, which purchased Fastway Couriers in January 2016, providing the business and its franchisees with access to research, resources and expertise.
“It’s an extremely exciting time to be involved in delivery logistics with technology advances rewriting the rules and that’s a huge opportunity for us and for our franchisees,” said Peter. “That appetite for online shopping is great news for our franchisees with the volume of parcels growing at an extraordinary rate and, in line with the new way of shopping, we will continue to reinvent the way we do business.”

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.

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