NSW access policy framework given strong support

Performance Based Standards seen as gaining more traction

NSW access policy framework given strong support
Simon O’Hara


Reaction to the New South Wales Heavy Vehicle Access Policy Framework has been positive in transport and logistics circles, both within the state and nationally.


Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) welcomed the framework’s release, saying it will support more efficient freight movements and better safety outcomes on the state’s roads.

RFNSW sees the framework as clarifying Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles’ access to the whole road network and ultimately leading to reduced congestion.

"We believe the framework is good news for our members, as it finally gives heavy vehicle operators clarity around their access to both state and council roads," RFNSW CEO Simon O’Hara says.

"Harmonising access for compliant PBS vehicles will achieve higher levels of productivity in freight movements, whilst adhering to stringent safety and infrastructure standards.

"Importantly, it will also result in reduced levels of congestion across the entire road network, which will not only benefit our members, but the wider community of NSW road-users at a time when demand for road freight continues to grow."

Read how the NSW freight and ports plan was unveiled, here

The framework is a key part of the NSW Freight & Ports Plan 2018-23.

"RFNSW looks forward to continuing our engagement and consultation with the State Government and Transport for NSW, in helping develop new approaches on how we can improve connectivity and safety across the road network and efficiency through the supply chain," O’Hara adds.


Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) gives the framework a major thumbs up on efficiency grounds in regard to PBS.

"The policy framework is particularly important for container transport operators in Sydney as they seek to utilise Performance-Based Standards Level 2B compliant combinations such as 30 metre A-doubles to improve their efficiency and truck utilisation rates." CTAA director Neil Chambers says.

"On behalf of our Alliance companies in Sydney, CTAA worked with Minister Pavey’s office, and with Transport for NSW ahead of the release of the policy framework to ensure that Higher Productivity Freight Vehicle [HPFV] access permit applications being made by many container transport operators continued to be assessed and processed.

"The policy framework indicates that PBS Level 2B trucks at 30 metres (i.e. an A-double or Super B-double) configured for container cartage translates to a 30 per cent increase in cubic payload capable of carrying two 40-foot containers, compared to a 40-foot and 20-foot on a normal B-double.

"However, there are now more 40-foot containers handled through Australian ports than 20-foot containers.

"So, if you have the transport task of moving predominantly 40-foot containers by road, you indeed achieve a 100 per cent productivity increase if you can use one HPFV to move two 40-foot containers as opposed to two single semi-trailers.

"This is the road transport productivity being sought by container transport operators. And, the community benefits through less trucks on the roads for the given freight task, as well as greater safety and environmental outcomes.

"CTAA welcomes particularly the objective of the Framework over time to move towards pre-approved access permit arrangements instead of assessing each application on a case-by-case basis.

"Eventually, the framework envisages gazetted, as of right access for PBS Level 2B combinations State-wide, including the Greater Metropolitan Area of Sydney."

"We welcome the NSW government’s commitment to work with industry and local council road managers to cut the significant red tape which still plagues HPFV access permit applications. This will provide more certainty for industry to invest in modern, safer and more productive vehicle combinations.

"Many CTAA Alliance companies in Sydney are moving their operations to yards further to the west of Port Botany, off the major motorway network, and also closer to, or within intermodal precincts.

"The ability to utilise HPFVs to and from these yards and Port Botany is certainly a game-changer."


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) also sees the framework as a "positive step towards enhancing the efficiency and safety of freight movement on the state’s road network".

"The approach set out in this framework will make it easier for the NSW road network to accommodate modern, safer Performance Based vehicles, which can carry more freight and can help to reduce congestive pressures in the road network, particularly around key freight facilities such as Port Botany and the Cooks River Intermodal Terminal," ALC interim CEO Lachlan Benson says.

"This framework will benefit freight logistics operators by providing clarity on the NSW government’s approach, which will help them to make prudent long-term investment decisions with respect to PBS vehicles.

"Similarly, an approach that allows access on a network basis will help to reduce the regulatory burden and frustration faced by many operators day-to-day when dealing with a sometimes cumbersome and inconsistent permit-based approach.

"As the federal government develops a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy for the next 20 years, ensuring our road networks can accommodate vehicles that permit higher productivity will be critical in meeting a rapidly growing freight task and addressing road congestion."

The ALC believes the framework will make a significant contribution to national supply chain efficiency and safety, noting that "freight does not stop at state borders", and hopes the example will spread.

"As work on the National Strategy continues, ALC hopes that other jurisdictions will take a similarly forward-looking approach when reviewing their own access regimes, so that Australia can benefit from greater national consistency in this critical area," Benson says.

The framework can be found here.


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