ARTIO airs freight concern on platform providers

Digital freight platforms taken to task at inaugural ARTIO conference

ARTIO airs freight concern on platform providers
Sterle on stage at the conference


Freight disruptors in the form of platform providers – such as Amazon and Uber Freight – further threaten an industry already characterised by tight margins, according to Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) NSW secretary/treasurer, Hugh McMaster.

Against the backdrop of the inaugural ARTIO NSW Branch Annual Conference, newly appointed NSW Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy Daniel Mookhey and TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine raised concerns about the current and emerging role of such providers.

Mookhey says these platform providers see transport as "ground zero", and calls for "competitive neutrality" to reduce their dominance in the markets in which they operate, with urgent reform required to ensure gig workers were adequately protected under the law.

Kaine says "a tsunami is coming" with Amazon and Uber prepared to loss lead in order to gain and expand their foothold in global freight markets.

Their calls were backed by Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety Glenn Sterle, who stresses the importance of industry engagement to address the industry’s long established and emerging challenges.

Read how NatRoad took aim at such digital platforms at an inquiry, here

McMaster says: "In our rapidly changing world, these large multinational companies are setting out to further disrupt established commercial and operational arrangements in the industry.

"These companies are further raising consumer expectations that the goods they order will arrive almost instantaneously.

"They expect an already stretched industry to meet those expectations.

"It is 40 years since Razorback and, in that time, industry has not shown the will to do the necessary work to develop an enduring policy framework which addresses its economic challenges.

"We need to ensure all road freight businesses have a level of regulatory support which ensures failures in the operation of Australian freight markets are addressed so that well-run business can aspire to making a reasonable return over the medium to long run while at the same time allowing for poorly run businesses to fail.

"Perhaps with Amazon and Uber Freight rapidly expanding their global tentacles, and threatening more widespread and more significant disruption on the operation of freight markets, industry leaders will realise the increasingly important need to work together in anticipation of their arrival." 


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