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Donellan gets productivity message from port users

Minister pledges Victorian Budget focus on road and port infrastructure


Victorian roads and ports minister Luke Donnellan has assured industry representatives that the State Budget would have a significant transport and logistics component.

Donnellan was speaking at a joint Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) and Gadens Lawyers business breakfast where he invited a small group of CTAA-affiliated companies to a VicRoads meeting to make progress on productivity issues, his spokesperson confirms.

He was made aware of concerns by industry participants including container transport companies Qube Logistics, Rocke Bros Transport, Toll Intermodal, Arrow Transport & Logistics, and Riordan Grain Services, as well as agricultural producers and exporters GrainCorp, Fonterra and Ridley AgriProducts.

Ridley general manager corporate development Russell Lyons made plain the difficulty firms face making supply chain and logistics investment decisions “without a clear plan on issues such as port access and future transport productivity”, while Rocke Bros Transport director Michael Rocke prosecuted the case for high productivity freight vehicles (HPFVs).

“For our business, an increase in allowable mass on the Geelong Road carrying export grain containers would remove approximately 7,000 truck trips a year,” Rocke is quoted as saying. 

“The productivity, safety and environmental gains across the whole industry on that road alone would be staggering.” 

Qube Logistics managing director Paul Digney warned that rising costs will impact negatively on containerised trade through the Port of Melbourne, noting that Queensland and New South Wales  are now “pulling ahead of Victoria in transport productivity achievements, and we need to act decisively to address this lag”.

In response, Donnellan noted the support of the container transport industry to work collaboratively with the Government and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to address impediments to delivering higher mass approvals.

It was acknowledged that the use of new technology and on-board telematics can assist in addressing concerns about the impact HPFVs on road infrastructure, and that the safety features of modern HPFVs are superior to existing heavy vehicles.

The Minister explained that the May State Budget will have a major focus on improving infrastructure in Victoria that will have positive outcomes for importer and exporters and their transport providers. 

This includes a bridge strengthening program, particularly on strategic regional freight route.

CTAA is working with companies to participate in the Victorian Government’s Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) road freight trials aimed at gaining regulatory certainty on high productivity vehicle mass limits.

Gadens Lawyers partner Andrew Hudson backed efforts to increase productivity through the Port of Melbourne.

“It is critical we get all the productivity improvements we can in the road, rail and port network to take advantage of new international free trade agreements, particularly for heavy commodities moved in containers such as agriproducts.” Hudson says.


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