‘Timely reminder to act on supply chain challenges’

Industry welcomes NTC’s new freight task report and asks government to prioritise reforms

‘Timely reminder to act on supply chain challenges’
ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says the logistics council will push for a national freight and supply chain strategy.


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is calling on the government to prioritise supply chain planning and reforms to meet Australia’s growing freight task, which, according to the National Transport Commission (NTC’s) latest report, is expected to increase by 26 per cent over the next decade.

Calling it a "timely reminder", ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says the Who Moves What Where report underscores the need for all levels of government to synergise investment and policy decisions.

NTC chief executive Paul Retter says the report provides useful information about the nature of Australia’s freight and passenger movements, and will help those involved in infrastructure, planning and investment, operational improvements and regulatory changes.

"This data has been compiled from more than 150 different sources and for the first time provides an overview of what kinds of freight and passenger movements are likely to occur between now and 2026," Retter says.

"This is the most comprehensive analysis of Australia’s freight and passenger transport since the NTC’s Twice the Task report was released 10 years ago.

"The Global Financial Crisis slowed the growth of freight and passenger transport movements but now that our economy is growing faster, we are back on an upward trajectory."

The report suggests that over the next decade:

  • Domestic freight will increase by 26 per cent (down from 50 per cent during the previous 10 years), and
  • Domestic passenger movements will increase by 19 per cent (up from 8 per cent during the previous 10 years).

Kilgariff points out that while the report confirms the rate of freight growth to 2026 will be slower than the last ten years, it should be viewed in comparison with the expected rate of growth in passenger transport, which is lower.

The report also includes localised data, state and territory transport forecasts and analysis of related challenges.

Kilgariff says both the NTC report and Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Audit report highlight the need to take action on Australia’s supply chain challenges and opportunities.

"While this report reinforces what we already know – that Australia’s freight task is big and is growing – it also highlights the need for action," Kilgariff says.

"In its Infrastructure Audit, Infrastructure Australia predicted that the cost of congestion on urban roads could rise to more than $50 billion each year by 2031 and that demand for many key urban road and rail corridors is projected to significantly exceed current capacity by 2031.

"These two reports underscore the need for a timely government response to Infrastructure Australia’s 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan to chart a long term plan to deal with Australia’s supply chain challenges and opportunities. 

"ALC members will take this message to Canberra next week with a clear message to all sides of politics on the need to commission a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, as recommended by Infrastructure Australia in its 15-year plan.

"ALC strongly supported this strategy in our election priorities document Getting the Supply Chain Right and we encourage the government, opposition and all cross-benchers to embrace this important piece of work."

Retter says the next decade will be a crucial time for Australia’s transport sector, not only in terms of freight movement but also because there will be some major technological innovations in freight and passenger movement since the time "the car replaced horses".

He concedes that the report does have a few grey areas that need improvement and industry discussion.

NTC plans to release a discussion paper early next year that will address these issues.

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