AFGC backs push for freight reform

Food and Grocery Council says proposed freight strategy will unlock savings for the nation’s largest manufacturing sector

February 23, 2011

A proposal to drastically reform the land freight task will improve productivity and reduce transport costs, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) says.

AFGC CEO Kate Carnell has backed the introduction of the strategy, which Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese released yesterday for feedback.

The plan calls for dedicated road freight routes, greater access for high productivity vehicles and separated rail freight and passenger lines.

"Industry applauds the Government’s decision to develop a nationally consistent transport system which industry has been demanding for several years – this will help boost productivity and reduce costs across the supply chain," Carnell says.

She says food and grocery manufacturing accounts for more than 25 percent of transport involving supply chain movements in Australia.

"As a result, unlocking bottlenecks and having a more streamlined and cost-effective supply transport network is essential for Australian manufactured food and grocery products to maintain their competitiveness."

Carnell says a more efficient and streamlined transport networks is fundamental for getting products from farm to factory and eventually to market, whether in Australia or overseas.

Albanese launched the draft strategy during his speech at yesterday’s Australia Logistics Council’s annual forum, where he urged industry to support the proposed changes.

The report recommends a single national network to improve interoperability between transport modes and for truck-only roads between capital city ports and intermodal terminals.

It calls for a second tier of freight-specific routes running from jurisdiction-designated freight clusters to the national network.

"Currently, most of the transport infrastructure used by freight is also used for personal transport. There is virtually no freight specific transport infrastructure," its draft proposal says.

"The essence of any freight network is that it should ‘add’ something – analysis, priority, rights and responsibilities – for freight which is not available off the network."

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