Ports Australia sets three election priorities

Ports Australia has released its three priority policies, ahead of the 2019 federal election, that the organisation believes will save Australians money, increase our international competitiveness, strengthen the economy, create jobs in regional areas and help reduce congestion in our cities.
The policies also come with a warning of an impending maritime skills shortage.
According to Ports Australia, the three policies work together to promote a more efficient freight and supply chain through mode neutrality, smarter regulation and job creation.
“Ports are the starting and finishing points for exports and imports heading to and from Australian businesses and households.”
“With our growing population and even faster-growing freight task it is imperative that we start developing and implementing effective long-term plans for our freight network to support this country.
“We believe that an Australia with better-connected Ports that utilise the strength of each transport mode; the flexibility of trucking, connectivity of rail and capacity of shipping, can be a more internationally competitive country with a lower cost of living.
“Our policies also include a caution that poor national freight and infrastructure planning will have compounded negative results. Of concern is the dwindling pool of maritime skills in this country able to run the Ports, Australia’s trade and economic gateways,” Mike Gallacher, Chief Executive, Ports Australia said.
The three policies are:
1. Improving Lives Through Connected Ports
Currently 80 per cent of all freight trips to and from a port are conducted by truck adding to city congestion. By better connecting Ports with rail and road networks and planning approaches to allow for sensible development around Ports, governments can reduce overall congestion, pollution and maintenance costs while increasing road safety through efficient and strategic truck movements. Corridor protection and planning to link Ports with industrial zones and regions will also play a significant role in creating a liveable future for our cities.
2. Building Maritime Skills
Because Ports handle almost all our physical trade, Australia is particularly vulnerable to impacts created by a workforce lacking maritime skills. Ports require highly specialised people who have had decades of experience to fill crucial Ports roles; harbour masters, pilots, tugs masters, hydrographers and land side operators.
“Over 60% of skilled people in the sector are over 45 while the number aged under 30 is reducing. Ports around the country, particularly regional Ports, are struggling to recruit adequately skilled people for specific roles.”
“Government needs to find ways to increase opportunities for Australians to enter the maritime industry. Our Ports around the country already run cadetship, internship and graduate programs but more needs to be done given there is a shortfall in mariners not just in Australia but globally,” Mike said.
3. Using Australia’s Blue Highway
Australia’s freight task will double by 2030 after already increasing by 50 per cent over the past 20 years. Our current and planned infrastructure cannot handle the growth in freight movements. With over 80 per cent of our population living within 50 km of the coast Australians are connected by the Blue Highway, an underutilised transport mode.
“Unfortunately, only 15 per cent of our domestic freight task is moved by ship. We believe more non-time specific freight such as construction materials and fuel can be moved along our blue highway.  This frees up space on our roads and rail while providing training opportunities for Australian mariners.”
“Ports are a part of Australia’s future success story and we look forward to working with the government on implementing policies to support Australians through their Ports.
“Freight cooperation and planning is also part of the story. We urge all political parties to reach a bi-partisan agreement on strategy and for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to be released within in the first 100 days of the incoming government,”Mike concluded.

ALC welcomes Infrastructure Priority List

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has praised the Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) last week. The list confirms an ongoing need for investment in freight infrastructure projects that will enhance supply chain efficiency and safety, ensuring Australia remains internationally competitive.
“As an industry leader, ALC has always been among IA’s most enthusiastic supporters, because we have long believed that the best way to ensure effective infrastructure investment is for an independent umpire to make evidence-based assessments of projects, which can then be used by governments to inform decision-making,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“The release of the 2018 Infrastructure Priority List comes at a crucial moment, as the Commonwealth continues to develop the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy – an initiative which is again included as a high priority initiative on this year’s list,” continued Michael.
The key freight initiatives identified in the list are:

  • the Sydney Gateway connecting WestConnex to Port Botany & Sydney Airport;
  • the Port Botany Freight Rail Duplication to boost port efficiency;
  • the Chullora Junction upgrade to enhance Sydney’s freight rail network;
  • Preserving the corridor for the Western Sydney Airport fuel pipeline;
  • Preserving the corridor for Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal access;
  • Improving connection between Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway and CityLink;
  • Inland Rail and a dedicated freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane; and
  • Implementation of the Advanced Train Management System on the ARTC network.

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.

ALC releases final submission for freight strategy Inquiry

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has released its final submission to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities: Freight Doesn’t Vote.
The submission makes 41 recommendations relating to all transport modes operating in the Australian freight logistics sector, as well as whole-of-industry issues.
“[The] ALC has long advocated for a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC. “We are proud to release a comprehensive submission that clearly reflects industry’s priorities and offers practical suggestions for policy reform.
“The content of Freight Doesn’t Vote has been informed by an extensive process of industry engagement – including ALC Forum 2017 in March, dialogue with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, and extensive consultations with members and the broader industry.
“The submission calls on the Commonwealth Government to play a greater role in protecting against urban encroachment and preserving critical freight transport corridors – a position that has also been endorsed by Infrastructure Australia (IA).
“It recommends reviewing a number of regulatory practices that inhibit the efficient movement of freight, such as curfews and bans on freight vehicles. It also identifies opportunities for the Federal Government to incentivise good planning practices and encourage the take-up of new technologies that can deliver better outcomes.
“The submission does not shy away from recommending initiatives that may be politically challenging – particularly around greater Commonwealth involvement in planning, as well as road pricing and investment reform.
“However, 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. Our supply chains must be equipped to deal with that reality.”
The full submission can be viewed on the ALC’s website.

The ball is in our court

This column appeared in the April/May issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.
The ball has been put into the logistics industry’s court. For some years now, we have been urging government not just for more investment in transport and logistics, but also for better targeted investment – investment that will produce the best returns. We have also argued for better planning and better coordination between the three levels of government in Australia.
We gained some success when the Labor Government set up Infrastructure Australia (IA) as a statutory body in 2008, but it required several years of detailed work before IA could produce a comprehensive priorities list in a report to the Government – its 15-year infrastructure plan. Late last year, the Coalition
Government responded to that report in a statement that was welcomed by the logistics industry, and the Australian Logistics Council in particular.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull agreed to something that has been at the forefront of the ALC’s wishlist – the development of a national freight and supply chain strategy. It was the core recommendation of the ALC’s 2016 election priorities document – ‘Getting the Supply Chain Right’.
So it is now critical that the industry plays a central role in the development of that strategy.
The ball is in our court. If we sit on our hands and presume that governments, the general public and narrow industry interests will get it right, we will be sadly disappointed.
The Prime Minister said, “Money alone is not the answer. We need to get better at planning and building the infrastructure, and to do that we have to work together – all governments, industry, stakeholders, consumers and citizens. And we must take a much longer view, rather than the short-term one driven, of course, by election cycles.”
He is quite right. But all too often lofty sentiments get watered down and sidetracked.
One of the critical questions will be the emphasis given to the various parts of the fairly finite infrastructure cake: transport (comprising road, rail, sea and air, with each of them divided into freight and passenger); telecommunications; water; energy; and buildings (particularly schools, hospitals and sportsgrounds).
Unless the logistics industry makes its voice heard, there is a danger that the strategy will emerge with the wrong balance. We know freight does not vote. It means that we start with a proclivity to favour public transport over freight, and to favour buildings over other infrastructure.
There is also a danger that the money for transport will geographically follow the votes rather than the freight.
It is imperative that the logistics industry and its premier voice, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), put forward sound suggestions for the national strategy.
The ALC has always believed in taking the long view, so it is pleasing to see the Prime Minister stating that the national strategy must do the same. The ALC has always believed in only putting to government soundly argued, evidence-based submissions. This is because our members span the entire supply chain, incorporating road, rail, sea, air, sea ports and intermodal ports, so we are not interested in special pleading. That being the case, our input should be well received – but we cannot take that for granted.
Though the logistics industry impacts every business and consumer in the nation, it is often seen as one removed. People look at the parcel, not the truck, carriage or aircraft belly that delivered it.
We will have to make greater efforts to communicate the importance of our industry to the wider public.
The logistics and transport industries employ 1.2 million Australians and represent 8.6 per cent of the economy. We need to impress this upon the public as well as the people who will develop the national strategy. We also have to stress that the freight task will almost treble by 2050.
Taking the long view and getting coordination between the three levels of government in Australia have been almost intractable problems, so it was pleasing to see the Prime Minister’s intention to tackle them. The ALC’s ‘Getting the Supply Chain Right’ document said the Federal Government, “in partnership with the states and territories, should establish effective corridor protection mechanisms from urban encroachment or incompatible land uses to ensure the timely preservation of surface, subterranean and air corridors and strategic sites for future infrastructure priorities.”
The ALC is determined to not waste this opportunity – for the good of our industry and our nation and its people and businesses. The ALC’s annual Forum in 2017 in Melbourne had the development of the national freight and supply chain strategy as its theme. Taking the industry’s views and resolutions on the strategy from the Forum to government will be the main task of the ALC in 2017.
Experience has show that promoting good policy over bad – but popular – policy is a continuous task. But it has borne fruit in the past and we are determined to keep government accountable to deliver on the sentiments in the Prime Minister’s statement in the future.

Adelaide on track to be Australia’s smartest city

Thanks to the city’s adoption of Big Data and Internet of Things analytics, Adelaide could soon be Australia’s smartest city, according to a global authority on the use of technology in government.
At the 2017 Australian Smart Communities Conference on 30 May, Adelaide was singled out as an example of government using technology to better its understanding of challenges.
Brett Bundock, Managing Director of geospatial technology company Esri Australia, said Geographic Information System (GIS) technology offers governments the ability to better understand their challenges.
“By integrating data sets from a variety of sources and visualising them across a time-space continuum, decision makers can see more clearly the cause and likely remedy of even the most complex of issues,” Bundock said.
“Adelaide is showing real leadership in this space. Areas such as driverless cars, smart lighting enabling lower energy consumption, environmental monitoring of CO2, sound and temperature to innovate solutions to improve the city and plans to make the capital a high-speed internet zone.
“The technology is here. By displaying Big Data, policy and program information on a map, a clear picture emerges that can show the best ways to target resources, track performance, and communicate with the public.”
Governor Martin O’Malley said that embracing advanced location-based analytics technology could help Australia support significant economic and social growth.
During his tenures as Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley was credited with cutting crime rates, improving healthcare, reducing government expenditure and taxes and transforming environmental management practices, earning him a reputation as one of the US’ most effective leaders.
O’Malley now heads the MetroLab Network, a collaboration between US cities and universities to develop technologically driven solutions to urban challenges.
O’Malley told attendees that GIS technology enables leaders to be on the front edge of the wave of change.
“When you have government, business community and thought leaders committed to embracing new technology, you can completely rethink how cities are planned and operated to develop economic and social growth,” he said.
“I’ve seen a new way of governing emerging – a change that’s being brought about by smart cities.
“Cities that understand that spatial intelligence allows us to better reduce crime, better manage traffic and understand what’s going on at any given point in time in our city. This visibility to see, track and act ultimately delivers better data-driven decisions.
“In Chicago – a city of 2.7 million people and growing – we’re installing more than 500 sensors on city streets by 2017 to understand the movements of pedestrians and vehicle traffic and measure air pollutants is expected to give a sound data-driven vision of the situation,” he explained.
“This will provide the basis for clear decisions based on evidence for solutions – things like public apps that display safe walking routes at night or apps that monitor air quality.”

Supply chain support for new laws

Up to 165,000 companies that make up Australia’s heavy vehicle supply chain will be required to take steps to deliver a safer road transport industry under new laws coming in mid-2018.
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO Sal Petroccitto released the latest round of Chain of Responsibility information for 10 key supply chain roles.
“We’ve now delivered more than 30 information forums across Australia and I’m pleased to see many companies in the supply chain undertaking their role in safety and taking practical steps to ensure they meet the new laws from mid-2018,” he told delegates at the recent South Australian Road Transport Association conference.
“We’ve released 10 fact sheets which cover information for roles such as consignees, consignors, loaders, packers, schedulers, executives and employers.
“Whatever the role in the heavy vehicle supply chain, it’s time to be proactive in managing risks to ensure safe transport operations are part of everyday business.”
According to Petroccitto, the NHVR information packs and forums will make it easier for duty holders to understand and assess their risks, and know whether they are complying with the current law and prepare for changes.
The changes include the replacement of existing prescriptive obligations to reduce red tape and better apply risk management processes to focus on safety outcomes.
“There were 213 deaths from 191 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks or buses in 2016. I am determined to see that number continue to fall and make heavy vehicle safety everyone’s business,” said Petroccitto. “Although the changes are a year away, it’s time for businesses across the heavy vehicle supply chain to prepare.
“Earlier this year, we released our guidelines for Industry Codes of Practice, and a Chain of Responsibility checklist as part of a national effort to boost safety for all road users.”

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