City of Sydney green concrete road trial

Sydney road drives world-first green concrete trial

Concrete made using industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel manufacturing is being used in a world-first green roads trial in Sydney.
The City of Sydney is putting the environmentally friendly building product to the test on a busy inner-city street, replacing a 30 metre section of roadway on Wyndham Street in Alexandria.
To test the green concrete’s durability, the City has laid 15 metres traditional concrete and 15 metres of Geopolymer concrete, a sustainable blend of concrete and recycled materials.
As a major road leading to Sydney Airport, the high traffic volume provides the perfect conditions for the trial.
Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor and compare how the Geopolymer concrete performs.
UNSW Sydney researchers and the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) will then use results from the trial to create the first set of industry guidelines for Geopolymer concrete.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was committed to finding new ways to lower carbon emissions.
“I’m proud that the City of Sydney was Australia’s first carbon-neutral local government and that we’re continuing to take significant steps to reduce our carbon footprint,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Projects like this Geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions.
“Local governments are responsible for maintaining local roads, so if we can purchase more environmentally sustainable materials, we can fight climate change and provide quality infrastructure for our community.
“With 70 per cent of the concrete produced today going into pavements and footpaths, there’s great potential to further lower emissions from our operations.
“We’re continually working with concrete suppliers to reduce the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases emitted during the production of concrete for our local roads, and we already use sustainable green concrete for all our footway renewal works – which adds up to 25,000m2 per year.”
Made from fly ash and blast furnace slag, Geopolymer generates just 300 kilograms of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared to the 900 kilograms from traditional cement production – saving the equivalent of the electricity used by an average household every two weeks.
Research has been undertaken since the 1990s into geopolymer, but it’s only now that it is being explored as a product that is not only better for the environment, but also commercially viable.
The low-CO2 concrete has the potential to put the 400 million cubic tonnes of globally documented waste from the coal and steel industries to good use.  Whilst a small amount is currently used in construction, much of it is currently stored on site.
UNSW Sydney researchers will monitor the road performance for up to five years. Professor Stephen Foster, Head of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the CRCLCL project leader and describes the trial as “a huge step forward”.
“This trial will help drive step-change in the industry. Many concrete companies are already doing a lot to change, but this trial really gives it another push,” Professor Foster said.
“While we’ll monitor the road performance for up to five years, a lot of the data collected in the first three to twelve months of this world-first trial will be used to confirm our models and strengthen our predictions.
“Concrete contributes seven per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and in 2018 the world produced about 4.1 billion tonnes of cement, which contributed about 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2.
“Alternative, low-CO2 concrete materials offer potential benefits in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional concrete.
“This trial is important because we need demonstration projects to accurately assess the performance of Geopolymer over time so that there can be broader uptake.”
Industry partner Craig Heidrich, executive director of the Australian Iron and Steel Association and Ash Development Association, said the benefits of the trial will be far-reaching.
“Our collaboration with organisations such as the City of Sydney and the publication of the research findings will further de-mystify and promote the use of Geopolymer concrete in construction.
“Geopolymer concrete has great engineering properties. It is a durable, high-performance product that has a low carbon footprint when used in construction,” Mr Heidrich said.
“It’s a fundamental tenet in business that you need to be constantly innovating and investing into new technologies. This trial will provide real examples of Geopolymer concrete use that we can all use.”
Associate Professor of Sustainability Research at UNSW Dr Tommy Wiedmann said if all concrete produced in one year was Geopolymer instead of traditional concrete, this would save 12,000 kiloton CO2 per year.
 

Fremantle Port rail subsidy increased

Western Australia’s McGowan Government has implemented financial incentives to reduce truck congestion and get more freight on rail to Fremantle Port.
As committed prior to the last election, the container rail subsidy increased from $30 to $50 per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) from 1 January 2018.
The plan aims to reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port by encouraging more freight on rail.
The Western Australian Government’s integrated plan for freight and trade includes a target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent – an increase of approximately five per cent.
The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay received by rail at NQRT for export.
“Increasing the rail share for container haulage is one of several initiatives to improve efficiencies at the Inner Harbour to facilitate trade growth until additional port facilities are viable,” the Government said in a statement, adding that others include supporting the development of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy; development of the broader rail supply chain, including intermodal facilities; and upgrading road infrastructure linkages around the inner harbour.
“The rail service plays a significant role in achieving greater efficiency in the container supply chain as well as improving community amenity and environmental benefits along metropolitan roads that link to Fremantle Port,” said Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“That is why the McGowan Government has delivered on its election commitment to increase the container rail subsidy to encourage more container movements on the port rail service.”

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.

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.

Let's charge our way out of congestion: report

Congestion charges should be introduced in Sydney and Melbourne, according to a new Grattan Institute report that provides a uniquely detailed look at road congestion in Australia’s major cities.
Stuck in traffic? Road congestion in Sydney and Melbourne warns that, with their populations growing strongly, both cities could face traffic gridlock in future unless decisive action is taken to manage congestion.
The findings are based on an examination of 3.5 million Google Maps trip-time estimates across more than 350 routes over six months of this year.
In the middle and outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, most drivers have a pretty smooth run most of the time. But commuting to the CBD can take more than twice as long as the same trips would take in the middle of the night.
In Sydney, CBD commuters from Balgowlah in the north and Hurstville in the south can expect delays of about 15 minutes on an average morning, far longer than commuters from other parts of the city.
In Melbourne, the worst delays are for people commuting from north-eastern suburbs, including Heidelberg, Kew and Doncaster. Drivers who have to use the Eastern Freeway and Hoddle Street in the morning peak are often delayed for more than 20 minutes, and the length of the delay can vary greatly from day to day.
The report recommends congestion charges in the most congested central areas of each city. Key bottlenecks in Sydney include The Spit Bridge and the trip to the CBD from Drummoyne via Balmain.
Melbourne should introduce a ‘CBD cordon’ congestion charge, similar to London’s. The cordon could cover Hoddle Street to the east, Royal Parade to the west, City Road and Olympic Boulevard to the south, and Alexandra Parade to the north, with motorists charged when they drive across the cordon into the city during peak periods.
People who pay the charge would get a quicker and more reliable trip, because there would be fewer cars on the road at peak times. People who can travel outside of the peaks would not have to pay, because there would be no congestion charge when the roads are not congested.
To make clear that the new charges are to help manage traffic flows rather than boost revenue, the money raised should be used to fund a discount on vehicle registration fees and improvements to the train, tram, ferry and bus networks.
Melbourne’s CBD parking levy should be doubled, to match Sydney’s and to further discourage city commuters from driving to work.
And public transport fares in both cities should be cut during off-peak periods, to encourage people to shift their travel to times when the trains, trams and buses are not overcrowded.
The report dismisses the idea that new city freeways are the answer to road congestion.
New roads are important for areas of new growth or substantial redevelopment, but close to the city centres it is often more effective and always cheaper to invest in smaller-scale engineering and technology improvements such as traffic-light coordination, smarter intersection design, variable speed limits and better road surfaces and gradients.
“Don’t listen to the politicians who tell you big new roads will be ‘congestion busters’,” says Grattan Institute transport program director Marion Terrill.
“You can’t build your way out of congestion.
“We need more sophisticated solutions. Some of the great cities of the world have successful congestion pricing schemes, including London, Stockholm and Singapore.
“For Sydney and Melbourne, congestion pricing would deliver city-wide benefits: not only reducing the amount of time we spend stuck in traffic, but also funding better public transport and a cut to car registration fees.”

Freight focus group supports road-pricing change

On a panel of logistics industry experts at the Future of Freight event held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Melbourne on 17 July, John Fullerton, CEO of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) voiced his support for an increase in use-based charging for Australia’s road networks.
“At the end of the day, infrastructure has to be priced on usage,” he said. “We see it on rail today, we see it in telecommunications, and in the energy sector – you use it, you pay based on volume consumption.”
“Road pricing is inevitable, it has to happen because that way you can get some proper decision making around how best to invest your funds.”
He added that in the future, that decision making may well be taken out of the hands of those currently responsible for it, due to a move towards green transport.
“A lot of road expenditure is recovered from fuel excise on vehicles that are now far more productive than they have ever been,” Fullerton said. “Plus we can all see the move to electric vehicles and electric trucks happening, inevitably governments won’t be able to cover revenues from fuel excises because there will be less and less fuel consumed.”
“It is common sense to introduce a road-charging mechanism where, particularly on heavy vehicles, for every tonne of freight carried over a kilometre, and on particular corridors that may attract higher rates than other sorts of corridors.”
The recovered revenue could then flow back into government, he explained, to be reinvested, whether in rail or road, to get the best investment and most productive return for the economy.
“I think we’re heading in that direction,” he said. “It’s been slow, and it should happen quicker, but I’m certainly seeing at a federal level there’s a great appetite to move in this direction.
Maurice James, Managing Director of Qube, agreed that a different pricing regime is inevitable, suggesting a price scheme based on higher fees to access in-demand routes, and added that he hopes measures to ease urban congestion in Melbourne will also be implemented in the coming years.
“I feel that the biggest issue here in Victoria is we’ve almost got a disconnect between urban planning and urban policy frameworks, and freight planning and the policy that goes into freight,” he said.
He encouraged event attendees from the Victorian Government to think about how the region’s freight supply chain can be addressed in order to deliver efficiencies.
“I think Melbourne’s geography has been its strength,” he said, noting that 10 or 15 years ago, Melbourne was held up as a beacon in comparison with Sydney’s congestion. “[It] has a great road network, in terms of City Link, West Gate and the Monash [Freeway], but now […] that’s a congested network.”
He called for a freight system whereby goods brought into the Port of Melbourne would be more efficiently transported to their destination, where at present they are moved to the city’s western suburbs from the Port, then often back over to the east to their final destination.

Highlighting the industry’s view

With the Federal Government having announced the composition of the expert panel that will advise on the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the real work of shaping its content is now well and truly under way.
It’s not indulging in hyperbole to say that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get this right. Australia’s rapidly growing population coupled with changing patterns of consumer behaviour – especially with the growth of e-Commerce – will impose significant additional demands on the freight and logistics sector.
Indeed, the National Transport Commission (NTC) estimates that Australia’s freight task will grow by some 26 per cent in the next decade alone. When you think of the capacity constraints that are already evident in some of our major cities, particularly growing traffic congestion, such forecasts can appear daunting.
Although it will require a significant degree of hard work on the part of the freight and logistics industry, I am nonetheless confident that we can come up with solutions that will allow us to meet this burgeoning demand.
We know that industry is willing to play an active role, and we know that the Federal Government’s agreement to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy shows decision-makers are willing to listen to industry’s advice.
Thus, our immediate challenge is to make certain the advice we provide is the right advice, which will help ensure the Strategy that emerges is the right one for our industry and the right one for the Australian economy.
I think there has been an encouraging start on this front.
At the beginning of March, the ALC held its annual Forum in Melbourne, and the entire focus of the event was discussing the content of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
Of course, we are not starting with a blank piece of paper. Many of the attendees at the Forum are leading figures within Australia’s freight and logistics industry, and throughout their many years of collective experience they have garnered insights and evidence that will prove invaluable in terms of getting policy settings right.
Although ALC Forum 2017 was the first industry-wide gathering since the Prime Minister’s announcement last November that the Government would develop the Strategy, the discussions revealed there is already a remarkable degree of consensus across the industry about what is required to make it effective. This is a strong basis from which to work.
To help synthesise the industry’s conversations to date, the ALC has produced a Working Paper that summarises the views of industry to date about the contents of the Strategy.
Some of the major themes addressed in that publication are as follows:
Urban encroachment issues
In the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, the ALC prepared a document called Getting The Supply Chain Right, which highlighted the freight and logistics industry’s most pressing priorities for an incoming government.
One of those was urban encroachment, and the lack of buffer zones, land separation setbacks and design mitigation measures around sensitive use developments, which can significantly hamper the efficient operation of freight-related infrastructure.
At the time, the ALC noted that the national freight supply chain will be unable to support Australia’s growing demand if facilities and infrastructure continue to be prevented from realising their optimal capacity, due to restrictions imposed on their use or operating conditions.
This includes things like night curfews for airfreight and port facilities, restrictive speed limits and the banning of heavy vehicles from key routes that provide access to freight facilities.
These things are often pursued by governments in search of an electoral boost. However, their long-term impact is to simply build inefficiencies into the supply chain, which ultimately results in higher consumer prices.
As industry ‘insiders’, we understand that there is a symbiotic relationship between good outcomes for freight efficiency and good outcomes for the community.
The problem lies in the fact that this is vastly underappreciated by the public at large, and even at times by decision-makers within government.
This is how we end up with poor planning outcomes, such as the failure to preserve freight corridors, and insufficient consideration of freight operations when pursuing ‘urban infill’ objectives surrounding new residential developments.
The freight and logistics industry needs to better ‘sell’ the fact that corridor preservation equates to improved safety, liveability and efficiency outcomes.
Technology issues
There was a broad consensus among participants at the Forum that not enough is being done to make use of data, both in terms of improving safety and efficiency across the supply chain, and also when it comes to effectively planning the nation’s freight infrastructure.
Of course, the top priority must be safety in the supply chain. Regrettably, Australia’s approach to safety in the trucking industry is lagging significantly behind that of other comparable nations. In particular, several participants at the Forum noted that Australia’s trucking industry is making insufficient use of telematics when it comes to making business decisions.
The ALC will continue to pursue a national telematics law, permitting the use of data about vehicle performance, equipment and driver behaviour that can be used to enhance road safety, improve efficiency within the logistics industry and identify problems with driver behaviour.
Technology also offers a potential way to overcome the impact of ever-more restrictive planning and vehicular access policies when it comes to CBD freight delivery. One detailed presentation discussed using urban consolidation/distribution stations. These can provide for multi-modal routing systems using bicycles, walkers and electronic vans to facilitate freight delivery.
It is far more efficient than using large vehicles to deliver small loads – especially given that an increasing number of large-scale residential developments do not incorporate delivery zones or provide access facilities for freight vehicles.
Rail issues
There is very strong support within the industry for construction of the Inland Rail, at last providing a port-to-port rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane. This project has had a long gestation, but with the increasing demand for freight resulting from free trade agreements and the growth of e-Commerce, encouraging more freight onto rail is vital.
Constructing the Inland Rail will help to cut freight transport times, reduce road congestion and promote cheaper consumer prices. There are also considerable economic benefits for regional communities along the route.
However, there are also opportunities elsewhere in the sector to make greater use of short-haul rail. This includes pursing projects like the duplication of the rail line at Port Botany, which will help achieve NSW Ports’ target of moving three million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) by rail by the year 2045.
Pursuing a rail connection between the Port of Melbourne and three of Victoria’s inland ports will also be important in promoting supply greater supply chain efficiency and addressing road congestion.
This issue is especially important in the context of Asia’s rapidly expanding middle class, whose appetite for the type of high-quality agricultural goods Australia produces will be a source of growing demand on our freight and export infrastructure. We must be mindful not to cede our competitive edge in this area by failing to have a supply chain that operates safely and efficiently from paddock to port.
The next steps
The ALC believes that a dynamic Strategy requires a dynamic consultation process to guide its development, and accordingly the ALC will be continuing to engage closely with industry over the coming weeks and months to make sure we get the right outcomes.
However, from the conversation thus far, it’s already apparent that there are some clear expectations from industry.
Existing freight infrastructure needs to be made to operate efficiently, through making sure planning instruments not only identify and preserve the industrial lands to provide the jobs and logistics facilities of the future, but also ensure new residential developments do not encroach on infrastructure and prevent its effective utilisation.
It will also be necessary to establish some form of mandatory system of data collection that will allow better decision making and improved outcomes in safety, planning and investment decisions, all of which will help boost productivity.
We will need to move towards hypothecation of levies, fees, taxes and charges raised for the purpose of developing an identified piece of infrastructure – so that money raised is invested properly and not put back into consolidated revenue.
The construction of Inland Rail must continue to be treated as a priority, ensuring rail as a modality has a clear place in moving freight in the Australian supply chain.
Great Commonwealth leadership needs to promote supply chain safety and efficiency – this includes helping the public at large understand the importance of supply chain efficiency, as well as incentivising state jurisdictions to consider freight needs in their planning instruments by making Commonwealth funding support subject to conditions such as having corridor preservation strategies in place.
Finally, the establishment of a specific Federal Department of Planning and Infrastructure will allow the Commonwealth’s expertise in these areas (including the development of funding mechanisms) to be concentrated and properly able to be used as resource, by industry and by other jurisdictions.

Amazon granted patent for subterranean tunnel delivery network

A 33-page patent recently granted to e-commerce giant Amazon describes a delivery system utilising a series of conveyor belts or rails and vacuum tubes to transport goods underground.
The patent was first spotted by tech blog Geek Wire. It was discovered that the retail giant filed the patent three years ago, and it was granted in late 2016.
This is not the first time Amazon has made headlines for its bold entry into the logistics arena. From their rumoured development of an Uber-style delivery app and patents for flying warehouses, 3D printers in trucks and drones that can hitchhike of trucks and buses, Amazon is not short of outlandish and innovative ideas.
According to the tunnel patent, the delivery system would increase efficiency and reliability of delivery and bypass road traffic, whilst requiring fewer delivery vehicles on the network.Tunnel Amazon
The patent states, “A dedicated network delivery system may avoid congestion experienced by traditional networks and enable the delivery of objects from an origin to a destination using…subterranean or above ground elements.”
Newsweek reports that UK firm Mole Solutions unveiled details of a freight pipeline concept last year, describing it as the ‘21st –century link in the supply chain process of the future.”
Images via the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Sydney Traffic Congestion Costs Drivers Over 150 Hours per Year

TomTom released the results of the TomTom Traffic Index 2016, the annual report detailing the cities around the world with the most traffic congestion.
The report has revealed that Sydney’s overall traffic congestion increased by 1 per cent on the previous year, despite falling nine places to rank 30th in the global traffic congestion ranking.
This surge in Sydney’s traffic can be attributed to an increase in the afternoon peak period, with congestion for the evening rising from 64 per cent to 65 per cent over the last year.
Sydneysiders are still facing the worst traffic across the major Australian cities. Sydney drivers spend an extra 39 minutes’ in the car during the morning and afternoon peak, compared with just 31 minutes in Melbourne and 26 minutes in Brisbane.
Taco van der Leij, VP Marketing at TomTom Telematics, said: “Businesses with employees on the road in congested cities could clearly benefit from smart methods to cope with the effect of traffic. Customers using our WEBFLEET fleet management solution are already taking a first step towards this with access to a wide range of tools to help make better decisions for their fleets. Through more intelligent routing and job scheduling, telematics can optimise traffic flow, meaning vehicles spend less time on the road, and by being able to tap into TomTom’s world class Traffic Services they are able to further reduce travel times.”
Business owners can find out more about the TomTom Traffic Index, and discover where their home city ranks at www.tomtom.com/trafficindex. There’s also helpful advice on beating traffic congestion, as well as independent analysis. And, for the first time, a selection of ‘Profile Cities’ provide insight into what they are doing to improve mobility.
Road authorities and local governments can use TomTom’s traffic data to better manage traffic flow during the rush hour. We can help businesses plan smarter working hours to help their employees avoid travelling during rush hour. And we give drivers the real-time traffic information and smart routing they need to avoid congested roads and get to where they want to be, faster.
Put simply, the Congestion Level percentage is the extra travel time a driver will experience when compared to an uncongested situation. To illustrate, an overall congestion level of 36% means that an average trip made takes 36% longer than it would under uncongested conditions.

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