Qld should look to rail supply chain efficiency first: report

Review of agriculture and livestock train services says truck charging reform gains will take too long

Qld should look to rail supply chain efficiency first: report
Rail subsidies are still part of the policy mix


The Queensland Government has been urged to focus on supply chain efficiency and infrastructure upgrades while it waits for national heavy vehicle charging reforms to affect competition between road and rail freight.

The advice is contained in the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee’s recent Rail freight use by the agriculture and livestock industries report.

While noting the State Government’s acceptance of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform project, the Committee accepts entirely that there is "significant inequity in the contribution made by road freight providers and rail freight providers to the cost of infrastructure" and that this "leads to a major distortion in the price of rail freight and road freight".

With that in mind but given the reform process is so "complex and sensitive" that it is unlikely to be resolved quickly, it sees upgrading infrastructure as the best shorter-term option.

In this, the Committee echoes the Queensland Transport and Logistics Council’s (QTLC) position.

"In these circumstances, it may be prudent to reframe the long-running landside modal contestability issues into a supply chain efficiency issue," the Committee quotes QTLC as saying in the earlier Strengthening Queensland’s Supply chains 2013-2015 report.

While also noting the QTLC’s point that modal pricing "appears to be only one of many factors that contribute to a lack of contestability between the road and rail mode" and trucking’s inherent flexibility, the Committee does not comment on them.

Of its 44 other recommendations, many were weighted towards government involvement in securing coordination and cooperation between above and below rail operators and their agriculture and livestock industrycustomers and deepening transparency.

This would include ministerial attention to transport services contracts, both in their structure and subsidy, "where uncompetitive rail freight costs currently push agricultural freight onto the road".


You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook