Route confirmed for North East Link

The Victorian Government has confirmed the route for Melbourne’s North East Link, which it anticipates will be the biggest transport project in the state’s history.
The North East Link will begin on the Eastern Freeway at Springvale Road, where the capacity of the Eastern will be doubled with six extra dedicated lanes to eliminate some of eastern Melbourne’s worst bottlenecks.
A statement from the office of Premier Daniel Andrews said the expanded Eastern Freeway section will remain toll-free under the Andrews Labor Government.
Heading west, the freeway will connect to a new six-lane tunnel at Bulleen, with local underground connections at Banksia St and Manningham Road.
The five kilometre-long tunnel will then travel deep beneath the Yarra River, protecting environmentally sensitive parkland and residential areas.
There will be a local connection at Lower Plenty Road, with the North East Link then running north alongside the existing Greensborough Highway, which will stay open for local traffic.
A new interchange will see the North East Link travel beneath Grimshaw Street in Watsonia, before seamlessly connecting to the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough, which is also being widened.
“People have been talking about connecting the Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway for decades but it’s always been put in the too-hard basket – not anymore,” said Andrews in the statement.
“This is the biggest transport project in Victoria’s history – our state needs it and only Labor will get it done.”
The statement said the travel times between Melbourne’s north and south will be cut by up to 30 minutes in each direction, with travel time savings for people travelling to Melbourne Airport from the south and east.
It also anticipated that congestion on local roads in the north eastern suburbs will also be slashed, with up to 15,000 trucks taken off local streets a day, and more than 9,000 vehicles taken off hotspots like Rosanna Road.
The business case is yet to be finalised, but the statement said early cost estimates on the project range up to $16.5 billion – the single biggest transport infrastructure investment in the state’s history.
Detailed design will now get under way and the business case, including finalising cost estimates, will be released ahead of the 2018/19 Victorian Budget.

Road and Container Charging Plus Portal and Road Trains

Queensland election “vital” for freight logistics industry: ALC

The Australian Logistics Council has written to party leaders in Queensland ahead of the 25 November state election, asking them to outline their policies on key issues such as corridor protection, congestion, the development of critical freight infrastructure and improved road safety through the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
Letters were sent during the first week of the campaign to the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Queensland Premier; Tim Nicholls MP, Leader of the Opposition; Steve Dickson MP, One Nation Leader; and Rob Katter, MP of Katter’s Australian Party.
“Queensland plays a vital role in sustaining Australia’s freight logistics network, and with significant growth expected in the state’s freight task over the next decade, it is crucial that Queensland’s political leaders address our industry’s priorities ahead of the state election,” said Ian Murray AM, Chairman, ALC.
He noted that one of the most urgent priorities is preserving a rail corridor that will permit the construction of an alternative dedicated freight rail connection from the Inland Rail route through to the Port of Brisbane.
“This corridor must be preserved now to minimise construction costs for a future rail connection to the port,” he added. “This is essential to guarding against the impact of urban encroachment on this critical piece of freight infrastructure, and deriving the full economic benefits of this significant national project.”
Infrastructure Australia has calculated that up to $66 million could be saved on construction costs of a future freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane if appropriate corridor protection strategies are put in place, Murray noted.
“ALC has also called on the next Queensland Parliament to provide certainty to the heavy vehicle industry by acting swiftly to pass the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 201,” he said.
“This legislation contains a number of significant measures which ALC believes will improve road safety. It should be passed by the Queensland Parliament as a matter of priority following the state election.”
Murray added that Queensland’s political leaders have also been asked to outline their approach on a range of other policy matters, as highlighted by the ALC in its Queensland Freight Priorities document, released in August 2017.
“These include measures to reduce road congestion, and ensuring the regulation of Queensland’s freight transport infrastructure affords our industry the flexibility it needs to operate 24/7,” Murray said. “This will be essential to meeting a freight task that is rapidly growing due to Queensland’s rising population, growing export markets and the expansion of e-commerce.”

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.

Inland Rail project to impact industrial market: report

The Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Rail project is anticipated to transform the movement of freight around the country and significantly impact industrial property, its users and providers across regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, as found by research carried out by commercial real estate company, Colliers International.
According to the findings of the Colliers Radar: The Melbourne – Brisbane Inland Rail report, the 1,700km Inland Rail project – planned for completion in 2024/25 – is expected to result in potential creation of new intermodal facilities and transport and logistic hubs in key strategic locations; the relocation and/or emergence of inter-capital freight users to key strategic locations; potential uplift in industrial land values for precincts in proximity to the rail route (occupier-led demand); and higher importance placed around the existing Ports of Brisbane and Melbourne.
“From commercial property perspective, the regions which are most likely to benefit from the completion of the Inland Rail are Darling Downs, Acacia Ridge and Bromelton in Queensland, Tottenham in Victoria and Parkes in New South Wales,” said Malcom Tyson, Managing Director – Industrial, Colliers International.
“We are likely to see increased activity along the Inland Rail route from the inter-capital freight users such as Linfox, CEVA Logistics, Toll Holdings, DB Schenker, DHL, Woolworths, Coles, GrainCorp, Bluescope and Visy.”
Tyson noted that the benefits for these users would range from operating cost savings, time savings, improved reliability, improved availability and resilience to incidents.
“In line with this, providers of the intermodal transport and logistic hubs and industrial estates may also emerge to cater for the increased demand and relocation requirements from these users,” he added.
“These providers might fall into service industry sectors such as cold-store warehousing, grain and commodities storage, rail maintenance, container park, food processing facilities, freight handling facilities, distribution centres and inland container storage facilities.”
Matthew Frazer-Ryan, National Director – Industrial, Colliers International, added, “There is compelling evidence pointing towards the positive correlation between new infrastructure projects (i.e. when committed and under construction) and associated uplift in industrial land value in a region.
“The importance of these projects to improve accessibility of freight to the area is also likely to positively impact on the potential rental value of the industrial property in the region.”
Frazer-Ryan added that this has been evidenced Melbourne during the CityLink Tulla Widening project and the beginning of the West Gate Tunnel project – directly impacting transport and logistic operators in the region and leading to an uplift in values.
In Brisbane, he added, this was evident with the completion of the Gateway Upgrade, which saw land values in the Australia TradeCoast rise upon announcement of the project.
In Sydney, the Westlink M7 Motorway construction saw average annual land value growth in the M7 catchment area of around 22 per cent over the three-year period.
“As a result, we would anticipate that as firms begin to look to these middle suburban ring and outer regional areas supported by the completion of the Inland Rail, stronger demand should lead to increasing land values and overall industrial property performance over the long-term,” added Frazer-Ryan.

Last chance to attend 2017 CCF Summit and Awards

Time is running out to register for the 2017 CCF Australian Infrastructure Summit and National Earth Awards Gala Dinner, which takes place in Canberra 21 – 22 November.
The event gives delegates unique insight into the major developments taking place in the civil construction space, bolstered by a range of industry speakers and a full summit program including:
*Opening presentation by the Hon Darren Chester MP, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
* Launch of the 2017-2018 CCF Infrastructure Report
* National Infrastructure Construction Schedule (NICS)
* CLARA’s ‘Smart City Project’
* NHVR’s ‘Heavy Vehicle Permit AccessCONNECT Program
* Australian Rail Track Corporation’s ‘Inland Rail Project
Attendees can view the full Summit program, and register for the event and the 2017 CCF National Earth Awards Gala Dinner – recognising excellence in civil construction projects across Australia – here.

Industry speakers announced for CCF Summit

The Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) has announced the key individuals and business leaders set to speak at its 2017 Australian Infrastructure Summit this November.
The event will be held in Canberra on 20-21 November at the QT Hotel, with presenters comprising representatives from some of Australia’s leading corporations and government bodies, including:

  • Nick Cleary, Chairman, CLARA
  • Marc Allen, Programme Commercial Manager, Australian Rail Track Corporations
  • Sal Petroccitto, CEO, NHVR
  • Andrew Brown, Sales Director ANZ, PelicanCorp
  • John Murray AM, Australian Governments Security of Payments Legislation Review
  • Colonel Matt Galton, Director of the North Program, Capital Facilities and Infrastructure

The event also incorporates the launch of the 2017 Australia Infrastructure Outlook Report with Adrian Hart, Senior Economist, Infrastructure and Mining, BIS Shrapnel at the CCF Infrastructure Outlook Breakfast, which includes an address from Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
The Summit will play host to one of Australia’s most prestigious civil construction awards night – the CCF National Earth Awards, which recognises excellence in civil construction projects throughout Australia.
For more additional program and speaker information, and to register, go to the Summit website.

Civil infrastructure industry on show in Canberra

Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) has announced that the 2017 Civil Contractors Federation Infrastructure Conference will be held on 20–21 November at the QT Hotel in Canberra.
The event will also incorporate one of Australia’s most prestigious civil construction awards night – the CCF National Earth Awards, which recognises excellence in civil construction projects throughout Australia.
“This is an open event to CCF members, industry, government officials and the media,” said CCF National CEO Chris Melham.
“Civil Contractors Federation is proud to invite you to attend this year’s event which will feature four exciting components: a ‘welcome’ cocktail networking reception; the Australian Infrastructure Outlook Breakfast, which will launch the 2017 CCF Australian Infrastructure Outlook Report; the 2017 Australian Infrastructure summit, that will cover some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects and issues of national significance; and Australia’s prestigious 2017 National Earth Awards Gala Dinner.
“Celebrating its 24th year, the highly prestigious CCF National Earth Awards will once again recognise excellence in civil construction from across Australia. The Awards night is a ‘Black Tie’ affair and will be held in the magnificent ‘Great Hall’ of the Australian Parliament.”

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.”

Scenario planning to shape national freight strategy

Deakin University’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL) is currently running workshops with senior executives from across the supply chain and freight sectors to help inform the development of the National Supply Chain and Freight Logistics Strategy (NSCFLS), which was announced in late 2016 by the Hon Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
At the ‘Scenario Planning Workshops to Inform the National Inquiry into Freight and Supply Chain Priorities’, a select group of logistics experts will be invited to consider the implications of several future scenarios, from debilitating climate change to overcrowding and urban encroachment, then work together to decide upon a series of risk management strategies and priorities that will be presented to the Australian Government in November to help inform its Strategy.
The scenarios have been prepared by CSCL through rigorous industry and the support of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD), the expert panel selected to support the NSCFLS, in-depth interviews of industry experts and a major survey campaign.
CSCL Director, Hermione Parsons, told Logistics & Materials Handling that, while the first workshop took place on Tuesday 17 October in Perth, spaces still remain for Sydney workshop on 1 November. A fully subscribed Melbourne workshop will take place on 27 October.
The CSCL is looking for senior logistics experts with extensive experience to help support the planning effort.
Please note: the workshops have now taken place.

Australian logistics and warehousing market to reach $187 billion by 2021

Australia’s warehousing and logistics industries will be worth $187 billion by 2021, according to a new study from market research firm Ken Research.
The company noted that it has observed an evolution in the logistics industry in recent years, in terms of integration and digitalisation of the supply chain, which has led to better productivity and efficiency creating sustainable modes of transporting goods from one place to another.
Ken Research attributed the Australian logistics market’s impressive growth rate in 2016 to the expanding manufacturing and retail sector, the growing number of foreign companies and the increasing value of exports and imports.
The demand for cold chain logistics has grown with the rising demand for Australia agricultural products from other countries leading to increasing agricultural exports, the company noted. It added that government investment in infrastructure development of road, rail, air and water transport facilities will drive the Australia logistics and warehousing industry in coming years, through investment including $70 billion allocated for transport infrastructure from 2014 to 2021, and $75 billion for funding road and rail infrastructure from 2018 to 2027.
The partnership of the Australian Government with New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory in 2014 is expected to assist the various land transport infrastructure projects.
Ken Research said that the freight forwarding industry will continue to account for the larger share of the revenue pie, supported by the growth of third-party logistics (3PL) service providers, as global players enter the Australian market.
Large companies are expected to focus on value-added services, with the power having shifted to the consumer, with internet driving growth, the transformation of supply chain, business-to-consumer (B2C) outgrowing business-to-business (B2B), new technology and home delivery.
“The value added services segment has seen faster growth in the international market than domestic primarily due to growing cross border e-commerce,” the company said. “With the development of artificial intelligence and growth of e-commerce sector, the demand for warehousing is expected to develop with auto and ancillary and chemical and pharmaceutical sectors [emerging as the] largest demand drivers of warehousing space.”

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