NTC pushes for B-triples under emissions trading

By: Jason Whittaker

The National Transport Commission (NTC) wants governments to grant wider access for B-triples under an emissions trading scheme. Echoing the Australian

The National Transport Commission (NTC) wants governments to grant wider access for B-triples under an emissions trading scheme.

Echoing the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), NTC Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos says high productivity vehicles can play an effective short-term role in slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

The NTC wants the Federal Government to divert revenue from an emissions trading scheme to encourage greater take-up of B-triples, quad axle semi-trailers and B-doubles.

With the freight task expected to double the next decade, Dimopoulos says government "must start acting now" if it intends on meeting its greenhouse targets.

"Even if greenhouse gas emissions from the stationary energy sector could be reduced to zero by 2050, further cuts in other sectors are needed to meet the national target of a 60 percent reduction," he says.

"Australia cannot afford to wait; we must start acting now."

Dimopoulos made the comments during the launch of a discussion paper titled Freight transport in a carbon constrained economy. The government body is seeking comment on the paper by August 29.

Following the discussion phase, the NTC will consider submissions when it develops a draft policy proposal for the Australian Transport Council (ATC).

The paper lists a number of options to cut carbon emissions, which include targeted investment in road and rail infrastructure bottlenecks, rail freight productivity improvements and the take-up of hybrid trucks.

But despite calling for incentives to push operators into using high productivity vehicles, the discussion paper still supports greater registration charges. The NTC argues these are necessary to remove cross-subsidies on high productivity vehicles.

The paper also flags incentives to scrap old trucks, the introduction of congestion as well as incremental pricing, removing night curfews and improving supply chain efficiency.

But Dimopoulos’ call for incentives for greater take-up of B-triples contradicts claims by the Total Environment Centre (TEC), which argues the trucks are not an effective emissions abatement strategy. Executive Director of TEC Jeff Angel says the heavier trucks use more fuel and raise safety issues for other road users.

He made these comments following the release by the TEC of a report predicting road freight emissions to grow by 100 percent over the next decade.

The NTC’s discussion paper says freight transport is one of the fastest growing greenhouse gas emitters. The paper predicts emission levels to rise by 27 percent between 2010 and 2020.

"This growth is being driven by a growing economy and freight task," the report says.

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