ALC welcomes PPP reform, demands more action

The Australian Logistics Council has welcomed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement that governments will conduct a major overhaul of PPP regulations in order to encourage greater private sector involvement in infrastructure delivery, but only if the governments also commit to continue growing their investment in our key transport networks, ALC chief executive Hal Morris said.

“The Australian freight industry has long been calling for the streamlining and simplification of transport and investment regulation throughout Australia, and welcomes today’s initiative of the Rudd Government that will help address the infrastructure bottlenecks holding back our economy,” Mr Morris said.

Prime Minister Rudd has announced the development of an integrated set of national PPP regulations with the aim of encouraging more investment in key infrastructure by the private sector. This, in conjunction with the new Infrastructure Australia’s review of infrastructure priorities, will provide a clear path forward for governments and industry.

“Any move towards consistency of regulation and improved transport infrastructure is a move in the right direction for Australia’s supply chains.

“It is vital, however, that transport infrastructure investment is considered on a whole of supply chain basis with all modes and connections taken into account in determining future priorities.

“The private sector, rightly, will only be interested in investing in projects that provide strong returns for their outlays.  Many critical projects will not be suitable for such investment.  It is therefore vital governments also increase their investment in key infrastructure projects. 

“The Australian logistics industry believes it is vital that Australia’s transport networks receive the investment needed to ensure our supply chains work efficiently.  Unfortunately current supply chain blockages are holding back our nation’s international performance.

“Only concerted effort, including additional investment by governments and the private sector in our road and rail networks, as well as improved connection and coordination of intermodal terminals and ports, will address these blockages,” Mr Morris said.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is a national umbrella body representing all players in Australian transport and logistics industry, providing an intermodal and unified voice on issues critical to the whole of Australia’s freight supply chain.  The ALC will be releasing a comprehensive national strategy for the freight industry at its Annual Forum this Friday, 15 February.

Remote airports get $1M funding

Anthony Albanese, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, has announced nearly $1 million in funding to improve safety and access for 25 airstrips in remote and isolated parts of Australia through the Remote Aerodrome Safety Program.

Mr Albanese said: “People living in remote Australia deserve safe and well-maintained airstrips because they are a vital link to food, medical supplies, mail and essential personnel like teachers, doctors and nurses in remote Australia.

“The Australian Government’s $1 million funding will boost airstrip safety and help provide year-round all-weather access for the Royal Flying Doctor and other services through upgrades of fencing, lighting and the resurfacing of runways.

 

“Remote Australia is a crucial part of the Australian economy and injects billions of dollars in agriculture and mining exports, jobs and infrastructure

“And the Royal Flying Doctor Service have said that they need safe airstrips to provide medical assistance to children and adults in remote communities.

“We are determined to help remote and regional Australians get access to basic services that many urban Australians take for granted.

“The Australian Government’s funding of $991,000 will kick start $2.2 million in projects to make remote airstrips safe, with an additional $619,000 contributed by State and Territory Governments and $554,000 from Local Councils,” Mr Albanese said.

Funding provided to eligible aerodromes under the RAS Program was based on the airports’ individual need and safety program and determined in cooperation with relevant State, Territory and Local Governments and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Mr Albanese said: “The Australian Government will work closely with State, Territory and Local Governments to boost safety at remote airstrips. 

“The RAS Program will provide $20 million of Australian Government funding over the next four years to improve the safety of aerodromes in remote and isolated areas of Australia.”

 

Roads rule in Victorian budget

The Victorian State Government’s budget contains little new in the way for rail freight, with most of the $1.8 billion transport spending going on road and public transport projects.

The Brumby Labor Government will provide Victoria’s freight network with $239.8 million. Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the government’s response to the Rail Freight Network Review formed the cornerstone of this year’s freight investment package.

Ms Kosky said the results of the Rail Freight Network Review, led by the Hon Tim Fischer, AC, outlined a range of options to develop a sustainable rail freight network in Victoria.

“To meet the growing needs of farmers and customers, our immediate response to this report is to set some priorities for grain lines, based on Mr Fischer’s recommendations,” Ms Kosky said.

Victoria’s major rail freight lines will be improved through a $42.7 million package. As part of the funding announced in the Future Farming Statement, $23.7 million will be invested in the first stage of Gold Lines upgrades as recommended in Mr Fischer’s Rail Freight Network Review, and a further $19 million was allocated for general upgrades.

In addition, a further $13.3 million will be spent on maintenance works on the rail freight lines which are vital to developing a sustainable rail freight network.

Other key freight projects funded by in the 2008-09 State Budget were:

– $12.4 million for the Geelong Rail Access improvement program for standard-gauge rail connection into the northern part of the Port of Geelong;

– $21.4 million for the Rail Freight Support package to ensure the agriculture industry can continue to access rail freight options; and

– $150 million, announced last year, to the Channel Deepening Project.

In contrast, $794.1 million into the public transport network (some of this being spent on rail freight and port projects) and $769.7 million for building roads.

“Public transport patronage has grown by almost 20 per cent over the last two years and the metropolitan rail network is carrying the highest number of passengers in the State’s history – more than 189.4 million trips a year,” Ms Kosky said.

“Population growth has outstripped previous forecasts and is placing pressure on our transport system. The Brumby Labor Government is taking action now to deliver better public transport infrastructure and services for our booming population.”

Around $68.4 million will be invested to upgrade and maintain key grain freight lines.

“Planning for the longer term is also a priority, with $10.4 million to start design of the rail

extension to South Morang,” Ms Kosky said.

The government is injecting $769.7 million to build new roads, improve the safety of the road network and reduce congestion.

Roads and Ports Minister, Tim Pallas said roads were key to Victoria’s economic and social development – ensuring efficient freight movement, creating jobs and enhancing the liveability of our towns and suburbs.

The 2008-09 State Budget roads and congestion package includes:

– $363 million for the Monash-CityLink-West Gate Upgrade;

– $224 million to upgrade rural and regional roads;

– $85.3 million for outer metropolitan road improvements;

– $46.6 million for road based congestion measures;

– $27.3 million in additional road maintenance funding;

– $16 million to improve response times and service performance at VicRoads customer service centres; and

– $7.5 million for the tender process to build a new licensing and registration system for VicRoads.

Some of the projects funded under the $224 million rural and road package include:

– $110 million towards the duplication of the Princes Hwy West from Waurn Ponds to Winchelsea to cater for increased car and truck travel, and improve travel time and reliability;

– $40 million to build a new duplicated section of the Western Hwy from Melton to Bacchus Marsh to improve safety and travel times;

– $9 million towards the Yarra Glen Truck Bypass – a $15 million project with a $5.5 million contribution from the Federal Government and $500,000 from the Yarra Ranges Shire Council.

Mr Pallas said the rural road projects were listed for funding under the Auslink 2 Program and the Brumby Labor Government would work with the Rudd Government to deliver these projects.

The $85.3 million outer metropolitan road improvements include:

– $36.8 million to upgrade the intersection of Pound Rd, South Gippsland Hwy and South Gippsland Fwy, Dandenong, to improve safety and cater for population and freight growth;

– $48.5 million to duplicate Kororoit Creek Rd from Grieve Pde to Millers Rd at Hobson Bay, including a grade separation of the railway crossing and an on-road bicycle lane.

 

Australian container numbers down

The latest edition of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government publication, Waterline, has reported that the five port total of containers moved decreased from 733,677 in the March quarter 2007 to 707,166 in the June quarter 2007, a decrease of 3.6%.

Waterline also reported that the five port average container turnaround time was 22.7 minutes in the March quarter 2007 and 21.9 minutes in the June quarter 2007. The five port total of trucks processed decreased from 445,368 to 428,738, a decrease of 3.7%.

The five port average truck turnaround time was 39.1 minutes compared to 38 minutes while the five port average crane rate increased from 27 containers per hour in the March quarter 2007 to 27.2 in the June quarter 2007. The five port average vessel working rate has increased over the period from 36.7 containers per hour to 37.4.

News item courtes of the International Cargo Handling and Coordination Association (ICHCA) – contact  ichcaaus@bigpond.com for more information.

24 blocked freight arteries that are killing the industry

The top 24 supply chain blockages – and how to fix them – have been identified by the freight industry, Ivan Backman chairman of the Australian Logistics Council said.

“Fixing these top two dozen blockages is vital.  Without action our freight arteries will clot,” Mr Backman said.

“Industry is looking for real progress on these supply chain blockages as we cater for growing pressures including record mineral prices and, hopefully, a bumper crop.

“When transport ministers meet tomorrow they must act not just talk.

“There has never been a better time for action than with the current political alignment.

“The real willingness for change endorsed by Ministers must now be backed up with real action.  It is critical for the health of our nation we clear on these Top 24 blockages.” 

The ALC has worked with the broad spectrum of industry to identify these priorities, covering every aspect of the supply chain.  They fall within three broad categories of infrastructure upgrades, regulatory reforms or improved planning processes. 

“While a number of these blockages for urgent attention are infrastructure upgrades requiring government investment, many are relatively inexpensive regulatory or planning solutions, such as better planning for access to intermodal terminals and significant ports.” said Mr Backman.

Urgent infrastructure improvements to rail systems throughout Australia is given a high priority, however reform of rail regulation is equally as important. 

“The current system of nine rail regulators and no single communications system is leading to delays and significant additional cost, impacting on rail’s competitiveness in carrying the growing freight task,” Mr Backman said.

Also identified as a top priority, governments must provide significantly more rest areas on major highways, allowing truckers to comply with fatigue regulations and, importantly, arrive safely. 

“Just as important is harmonisation of this fatigue regulation and greater appropriate access for higher productivity vehicles, reducing the growth of trucks on our roads.”

“I call on all governments to urgently act on these jams, clearing the way for industry to cater for the predicted doubling of our freight task over the next 15 years,” Mr Backman said.

TOP 24  SUPPLY CHAIN BLOCKAGES – ALC REPORT

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

 

1. Resources Rail Network – Develop the rail network that is needed to serve a rapidly growing resources sector

 

2. North-South Rail Network – Improve the service standards on the main North-South rail corridor to permit rail to a level at which rail will become the predominant mode for Melbourne–Brisbane traffic

 

3. East–West Rail Network – Expand the capacity of the East–West rail network to ensure that future growth can be accommodated without a deterioration of service standards.

 

4. Grain Networks – Clearly define the role of rail in the future carriage of grain exports and upgrade grain networks to ensure that this role can be performed efficiently.

 

5. Shipping Channels – Ensure that shipping channels serving all major ports are capable of serving the vessels of the size needed to carry our international trade efficiently

 

6. Short Haul Rail – Develop short haul rail routes linking urban IMTs and container ports to allow efficient rail operation, including where possible freight only tracks and provision for double-stacking.

 

7. Rest Areas – Provide sufficient rest areas on all major highways to allow effective fatigue management while minimising any impact on the productivity of road haulage operations.

 

8. B-Double & B-Triple Networks – Accelerate the definition and implementation of a national B-Triple network and ensure that the B-Double network is extended to allow access from all significant production facilities to major freight routes.

 

REGULATION

 

1. Concessional Limits – Implement a programme of concessional limits for heavy road vehicles serving intermodal terminals to encourage the complementary use of road and rail modes.

 

2. Open Access Regimes – Ensure that, wherever practical, all significant new transport infrastructure is subject to an open access regime, and develop improved regulatory processes to reduce the delays and costs to both access seekers and access providers.

 

3. Streamline PPP Approvals – Develop streamlined PPP approval processes to facilitate private investment in transport infrastructure.

 

4. Uniform Rail Standards – Implement nationally uniform technical and safety standards for rail operations.

 

5. Road Pricing – Reform road pricing to facilitate the efficient use of road vehicles and appropriate allocation of the freight task between road and rail.

 

6. High Productivity Vehicles – Reduce the regulatory barriers to the introduction of innovative high productivity vehicles.

 

7. Over-dimension Vehicles – Adopt nationally consistent and less burdensome regulation to reduce the costs associated with the movement of over-dimension vehicles.

 

8. Harmonise Fatigue Management – Harmonise legislative processes and regulatory arrangements associated with the implementation of the national fatigue management system.

PLANNING

 

1. Identify IMT Sites – Identify the sites for strategic IMT development in all major cities and ensure that these sites are protected for future development.

 

2. Protect Access Corridors – Define and protect the road and rail access corridors to all significant ports and strategic IMTs.

 

3. Transport Plan – Build on and integrate the AusLink corridor strategies to provide a clear and comprehensive plan for transport infrastructure of national importance, including port access links.

 

4. Develop Comprehensive Strategies – Develop comprehensive freight and logistics strategies covering both rural and urban freight movements in all states.

 

5. Fast Track Planning – Effectively implement in each State fast-track planning processes for transport infrastructure of strategic economic significance.

 

6. Climate Change – Undertake a comprehensive national assessment of the effect of climate change on transport infrastructure and develop strategies for managing this effect to minimise the impact on infrastructure cost and reliability.

 

7. Coastal Shipping– Develop coastal shipping plans to accommodate growth and efficiency

 

8. Real-time Information – Capture accurate real time information for infrastructure and planning use

 

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