Container transport sector wants improved supply chain links

CTAA pushes for improved port access, SAL submission states current system favours road and rail investment over shipping

Container transport sector wants improved supply chain links
CTAA is calling for independent productivity monitoring at all ports.


The Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) and Shipping Australia Limited (SAL) have submitted priority proposals to the federal government’s National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy Inquiry.

Both CTAA and SAL suggest that the national strategy should consider the impact of current policies on the overall transport network.

CTAA directors Gerard Langes and Neil Chambers, and SAL CEO Rod Nairn press for the need of an integrated supply chain network that efficiently links container transport with intermodal and road freight sectors.


SAL suggests that integration of coastal shipping in the domestic supply chain can "dramatically" reduce transport costs, and points to lack of effort to measure these savings.

It recommends "redirecting infrastructure resources committed to networks parallel to the coast line to create hyper-efficient and resilient networks perpendicular to the coast", which will help reduce freight costs across the supply chain network.

CTAA concurs with this view.

It recommends the national strategy to find ways to improve connectivity between ports, intermodal and road freight sectors to improve the overall productivity of the Australian supply chain.

CTAA backs road transport representative bodies in their call for improved access and permit rights for high productivity freight vehicles (HPFV).

"These vehicles meet the national Performance Based Standards (PBS), are Intelligent Access Program (IAP) route compliant, and are fitted with (interim) on-board mass monitoring devices," CTAA notes.

"In this way, government has a high degree of safety and infrastructure protection compliance assurance."


Pointing to DP World and Patrick’s introduction of port infrastructure surcharges across major Australian ports, CTAA suggests the national supply chain strategy should take into account the impact and "fundamental shift" in operations since the introduction of these charges.

CTAA recommends a Productivity Commission investigation into the current "winners and losers" of the new system and strategies that need to be adopted to ensure the best interests of the economy and society.


CTAA calls for independent productivity monitoring and management of key interfaces in the container transport logistics chain across all ports (on the lines of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) standards) including:

  • combined container volume
  • truck turnaround time
  • truck trips per time period
  • truck density
  • slot performance
  • performance penalties
  • empty container park (ECP) interface.

"You can’t improve what you don’t measure," CTAA submission notes.


CTAA calls on the governments to consider solutions to problems associated with increasing urban development near major ports, which exerts "significant operational and commercial pressure" and the freight transport sector.

"With the exception of Brisbane, all Australian Ports are land constrained by significant urban encroachment," CTAA notes.

"Whereas historically, the vast majority of container logistics activity (e.g. cargo freight station pack/unpack, bonded warehousing, empty container management) occurred in, or around the Port, today these activities are increasingly occurring tens of kilometres away."

The national strategy should support improved "urban planning, freight land use buffering and freight corridor protection" to allow peaceful coexistence of efficient supply chains and communities, CTAA suggests.


SAL points to the "regulatory failure" of the government and the assessment of infrastructure investment projects (IIPs) that support road and rail freight transport sectors over shipping.

The submission notes that the current system subsidises land freight transport sector and uses taxpayer dollars to fund new projects and maintenance of existing infrastructure at the expense of local businesses.

"As a society, Australia cannot afford to continue to subsidise the land freight transport sector and continue to be denied access to such an abundant resource as coastal shipping," Nairn states.

"Not only does it commit taxpayers to the funding of tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure construction and maintenance annually, it denies cost savings to domestic businesses and removes the stepping stone required for them to become exporters and more prosperous."


CTAA recommends a reformed road pricing mechanism based on a mass, distance and location formula to ensure heavy vehicles involved in haulage across metropolitan regions pay less than under the current pay as you go (PAYGO) system.

It recommends a similar approach of access pricing review for rail to "encourage certainty and commercially viable outcomes".


Check out our in-depth feature on industry submissions to the supply chain strategy in the September edition of ATN.

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