Federal government unveils freight data hub prototype


Major T&L industry players hail progress on information resource

Federal government unveils freight data hub prototype
Michael McCormack, foreground, with Scott Buchholz

 

The National Freight Data Hub prototype website is officially launched to a warm reception by high-profile transport and logistics (T&L) industry executives.

To fully capitalise on the value of enhanced freight data, the Australian Government announced $16.5 million in funding in the 2021-22 Budget over four years to develop the Hub further.

Federal transport minister Michael McCormack insists the hub, which gains $16.5 million over four years in the recent Budget, will be a trusted source of freight data for industry, government and others to improve the efficiency, safety and resilience of the freight sector.

"The hub will highlight important information about traffic volumes, congestion, road condition and rest area usage, to improve road safety for the nation’s freight operators," McCormack adds.

"This commitment will in turn support the day-to-day operations of the transport industry, provide enhanced freight data across all supply chains and enable a data driven approach for future strategic planning and investment.

"Every Australian, everywhere, every day relies on a truck driver, which is why we need high-quality, easily accessible data to make sure the movement of goods and services is as efficient as possible, especially as Australia’s freight task grows."

Freight transport assistant minister Scott Buchholz observes that  industry asked for a congestion metric to assist with their businesses and the government has delivered this and more with the prototype hub website.

"The prototype website is an important first step that shows the Hub’s potential as a game-changer for the Australian freight and supply chain industry," Buchholz says.

"The website showcases government and industry cooperation on a number of projects and allows users to search for data relevant to their business. 

"In new world-leading visualisations, interactive truck telematics maps are publicly available at a national level with insights on congestion in our cities and a national map of truck rest stops.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has shown more than ever the critical importance of our freight supply chains and all those involved.

"This initiative informed by government, industry and others is a win-win for everyone."


Read how the federal government liaised with industry on the data hub, here


Leading T&L identities line up to hail the initiative.

Toll’s head of innovation Peter Carney believes the congestion data will give the freight industry, and indeed all road users, a keener understanding of where and when congestion occurs

"This will enable road users and governments to develop strategies for managing the effects of congestion," Carney says.

"The maps will assist drivers in planning their routes, because knowing where not to drive is as important as knowing where to drive.

"Collaborating with the National Freight Data Hub has been an exciting project and we look forward to implementing changes on the ground using the data."

NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said the prototype website is an important first step toward a comprehensive National Freight Data Hub.   

"A fully developed National Freight Data Hub, with data across all supply chains, will assist with decision-making and evidence led-investments to enhance the efficiency and resilience of Australia’s freight supply chains and to quantify investment outcomes," Calfas says.

For iMOVE MD Ian Christensen,  Australia’s size and distance from world markets increases the scale of its freight task and it is therefore incumbent on us to work together to be efficient and drive down the cost of freight.

"The prototype website has exceeded expectations," Christensen says.

"The National Freight Data Hub is a crucially important initiative and iMOVE is eager to continue working with government and businesses to embrace data and increase information sharing for improved freight productivity."

Australian Logistics Council (ALC) CEO Kirk Coningham sees data is the new oil and having an integrated National Freight Data Hub is critical to the delivery of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. 

"The ALC commends the Government on the launch of the prototype website and looks forward to working together on this vital project, to ensure it meets the needs of industry now and into the future," Coningham says.

For Woolworths Group, the prototype hub gives the promise of more efficiency

"The challenges of the past year have put a spotlight on the need for industry and government to work closely together across supply chains to deliver for the community," head of transport development Ben Newton says.

 "The hub is a significant step forward in this collaboration, leveraging real-time data to achieve greater efficiency, safety and productivity outcomes across the transport network."

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications notes that it is developing the National Freight Data Hub in close consultation with industry, governments and other stakeholders. 

More information on the Hub is available on the department’s website, which is currently undergoing an upgrade.

The National Freight Data Hub prototype website can be found here.

 

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