Transport and logistics lobby groups back initiatives to remove ‘last mile’ access constraints on trucking industry.
The transport and logistics industry has lined up to welcome the New South Wales budget as a win for the freight sector.
The Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA), the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) have pointed to funding to remove freight bottlenecks as a major highlight in treasurer Andrew Constance’s first budget.
The budget includes $200 million to remove freight pinch points, $50 million to improve freight productivity in western NSW, $46 million to upgrade bridges and build new rest areas and another $37.5 million to remove ‘last mile’ access constraints.
“The 2014-15 budget appears to be underpinned by a renewed way of thinking, which emphasises the need to deliver freight connections to improve productivity and efficiency for the state,” LBCA president Jock Carter says.
“Improved local access (or first, middle and last mile connectivity) outcomes are critical for the survival of NSW regional businesses and industries. Most of these businesses are located on regional and local roads thus their bottom line is directly impacted by an efficient freight network, which extends all the way to their facility.”
The $37.5 million to remove last mile constraints comes under the Fixing Country Roads program, which ATA NSW manager Jodie Broadbent says will benefit the trucking industry.
“The Government announced the first $1.5 million of funding under this program last year to enable the Forbes Shire Council to improve high productivity vehicle access from the Newell Highway to the GrainCorp Red Bend silos,” Broadbent says.
“Projects like this one will increase the productivity of the trucking industry and reduce the number of truck trips we need to deliver the state’s freight.”
ALC CEO Michael Kilgariff says he looks forward to working with the NSW Government to identify and prioritise projects to remove pinch points in Sydney.
“The creation of a Regional Freight Pinch Point and Safety program as well as an extension of the Bridges for the Bush program will go a long way towards removing some of the impediments suffered in the ‘first miles’ of the freight effort,” Kilgariff says.
Broadbent also welcomed funds to continue the Pacific Highway upgrade, accelerate the WestConnex road project and deliver new and upgraded rest areas.
“Rest areas are vitally important for the trucking industry. Truck drivers are required by law to take regular rest breaks. They need to have safe places to stop,” she says.
Meanwhile, Kilgariff says he is pleased funding will go toward upgrading the northern Sydney freight corridor.
He says the work will, in the long term, offer a choice of mode as to how freight is transported into Sydney.
The budget allocates $99.4 million to continue work on the corridor. NSW says the work will improve access through the Sydney-Newcastle rail corridor between Strathfield and Broadmeadow.