Free us to deliver efficiently says transport industry


Linfox, Gilead Logistics, ALC and NTC national freight strategy submissions highlight potential solutions

Free us to deliver efficiently says transport industry
Annett Carey

 

The transport and logistics (T&L) industry wants government action to free up delivery fulfilment in a society reliant on it more than ever before.

With a growing trend in retail and grocery sectors offering convenient last-mile delivery services to their customers, road networks are expected to get busier than ever and it wants a proposed national strategy to tackle impediments.

Linfox Australian and New Zealand CEO Annett Carey says forecasts suggest road congestion, particularly in inner urban areas, is expected to aggravate problems unless proper planning is undertaken to replace decades-old delivery windows with round-the-clock supply chain permits.

It is one of the seven Linfox recommendations presented by to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) in response to its inquiry into the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

URBAN GROWTH PRESSURES AND E-COMMERCE

The issue echoes in submissions from the National Transport Commission (NTC), the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and Australian T&L consulting business Gilead Logistics.

Gilead director Ross Delaney states that "dysfunctional" urban planning has pushed warehouse and distribution facilities to "sub-optimal" locations that are generally further away from urban centres.

So far, urban planners have presumed that Australian cities can be logistically supported from the perimeter without giving much thought to the "reality and logistical consequence imposed by our urban sprawl", Delaney notes.

As a result, road congestion in urban area increases with more number of small vehicles travelling between distant warehouse facilities and urban centres.

Gilead recommends governments should consider logistical needs of inner urban regions while making urban and freight movement planning decisions.

Delaney also notes the increase in the number of small delivery vehicles as a result of an ever-increasing e-commerce sector.

The ALC voices a similar view.

E-commerce growth is fuelling consumer expectations for faster delivery timeframes and lower shipping costs that result in increased vehicular congestion on roads, it notes.

"To help ease the pressures on CBD freight delivery, Australia could examine the trialling of urban consolidation centres," it suggests.

ALC recommends infrastructure investments that support freight delivery in urban centres, particularly the CBDs, such as truck only lanes that can help improve supply chain efficiency and decrease congestion and emissions in high demand environments.

Meanwhile, NTC notes that the current provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) including fatigue management and chain of responsibility (COR) requirements do not cover many of the smaller delivery vehicles and their drivers.

ROAD USER PRICING

ALC suggests an independent economic regulator, in association with the transport industry, must develop a road pricing model for vehicles.

It calls for an inquiry to determine whether the pricing arrangements for toll roads should be subject to supervision from an independent entity, such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

It recommends road access provisions of the HVNL must be reviewed to "identify and enact improvements to the system so as to improve consistency and speed in decision making".

Delaney suggests equitable future road usage charges that take into account logistical factors such as location of distribution centres (DC) and need for small or large vehicles to carry goods back into the city across road corridors that are also used by other commuters.

He says governments must consider this supply chain reality when reviewing environmental and congestion claims made by urban bypass corridor users.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

NTC states that the National Policy Framework for Land Transport Technology: Action Plan: 2016-2019 outlines the role that government intends to play in the technology space, including promoting awareness and acceptance of new technologies.

It calls for an inquiry that considers the potential benefits of incentivising the adoption of new technologies such as blockchain to improve supply chain efficiency.

In a paper published last year, Land Transport Regulation 2040: Technology, trends and other factors of change, the NTC had suggested that blockchain technology could help achieve a secure and well-connected supply chain system.

Meanwhile, ALC recommends government ensure increased uptake in technology is not burdened by "unnecessary or outmoded" regulations.

In line with a recommendation from the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA), ALC suggests the government must consider ways to help small and medium T&L operators adopt global data standards in their supply chains.

"The Australian Government should work with industry to promote the benefits of adoption of global data standards through industry research and awareness programs and promotion of the value of global data standards in Australian supply chains," the ALC states.

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

All four submissions call for greater focus on development of practical and effective solutions to current inefficiencies in the systems that hinder efficient freight movement across road, rail and ports.

Linfox has welcomed government support for "big ticket" infrastructure items such as the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project and the Greater Western Sydney Airport at Badgery’s Creek.

"These are projects of national significance that have to one extent or another enjoyed bipartisan and cross-jurisdictional support at various stages over several decades," Carey states.

Both ALC and Gilead recommend that planning committees consider the benefits of efficient supply chain movement and create improved links between freight generation points and significant transport infrastructure such as rail, port and airports.

The ALC suggests the federal government set up a dedicated Freight Strategy and Planning Division within the DIRD.

It calls for special focus on transport corridor protection that allows efficient freight movement in the future.

It asks decision makers to support the "preservation of potential intermodal terminal sites, and ensure proper planning for future road and rail connections".

ALC suggests governments at all levels must take measures to ensure improved rail access to major ports.

It calls for "greater government focus and investment in the use of port shuttle/short haul rail infrastructure as a means to improve supply chain efficiency and reduce congestion".

"Governments should support accelerated investment plans for intermodal terminals, including work towards integrating freight rail and logistics freight hubs."

 

More on other National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy submissions tomorrow

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