NSW freight strategy challenges industry


The New South Wales Government has pressed the freight industry to work hand in glove with transport authorities and ministers to realise gains from its Freight and Ports Strategy. <br /><br /> The call, presented as transmission of a community expectation given a doubling of the freight task by 2031, demands that the industry knuckle down to its task for the greater good and “comply with transport and network regulations and perform their work efficiently, so that network performance is optimised”.

NSW freight strategy challenges industry
NSW freight strategy challenges industry

By Rob McKay | November 21, 2012

The New South Wales Government has pressed the freight industry to work hand in glove with transport authorities and ministers to realise gains from its Freight and Ports Strategy.

The call, presented as transmission of a community expectation given a doubling of the freight task by 2031, demands that the industry knuckle down to its task for the greater good and "comply with transport and network regulations and perform their work efficiently, so that network performance is optimised".

"Government expects that the freight and logistics sector will communicate demand forecasts to inform government decision making, create value for the economy through innovation, apply best practice methods in using the network, comply with regulation and pricing and, where appropriate, cooperate with other users so that finite network capacity is optimised," the draft strategy’s introduction says.

There will also be an emphasis on transport users cooperating with the government.

Around Sydney’s main port, the document shows that there are areas of capacity that can be utilised but these are in the troubled areas of late night container truck use of the M5 and modal shift to rail.

Meanwhile, parking on freight-sensitive roads will be reviewed, especially on Georges and Botany roads.

While the previous Labor government set a target for container modal shift for traffic to and from Port Botany and failed to make any progress, the draft strategy again describes it as crucial to trade efficiency.

It points out that the Metropolitan Freight Network is underutilised, carrying 300,000 20-foot equivalent units (teu) a year, despite a throughput capacity of 1.1 million teu, and that its percentage has declined from 24 percent in 2001 to 14 percent this year.

Though it highlights growing off-peak truck activity, it is sketchy on how modal shift will actually occur, let alone be accelerated.

It raises the possibility of a NSW Cargo Movement Coordinator’s (CMC) office, based on the Ports and Maritime Administration Regulation, being formed for Port Botany and Port Kembla to support it, oversee the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS)
and trouble-shoot.

The CMC would operate in a similar manner to the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator, which began in 2009 and is seen as a successful reform.

For trucking, it notes what has been done to support the industry was centred on major highway and local road infrastructure upgrades, support for national reforms, red-tape reductions, especially on access, and assistance packages for state transport operators.

In pushing for a more systematic approach to understanding the freight industry and what it does, the draft strategy proposes to measure its work through data collection and thereby establish key performance indicators "with stakeholders across the freight transport network".

In particular and taking a cue from Victorian research, Transport for NSW will focus on the behaviour of trucks in Sydney, as opposed to light commercial vehicles.

This will see an Off-Peak Freight Action Plan produced to allow, amongst other things, greater out-of-hours supermarket deliveries.

As previously flagged, there is to be a greater emphasis on Higher Mass Limits (HML) and High Productivity Vehicles (HPV), with trials to be conducted for access to the Hume Highway in conjunction with the Victorian Government and Bridges for the Bush aiding regional routes.

Transport for NSW is developing a business case for the Hume after duplication is complete, with a view to B-triple access following duplication mid-next year.

Any extra costs from the Hume initiative are to be recouped from access charges and be revenue-neutral.

HPV and HML will also be expected to access the Moorebank intermodal terminal and increased traffic generally in and around the two planned terminals will need increased road infrastructure spending to cater for it.

A National Building 2 submission is being prepared to fund modelling and analysis.

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