Gallacher puts case for 'blue highway' carrying more

Ports Australia boss argues coast shipping can shoulder increasing load

Gallacher puts case for 'blue highway' carrying more
Ash Sinha and Mike Gallacher


Ports Australia’s chief executive Mike Gallacher has argued the case for directing more freight through coastal shipping to aid longevity of expensive and overused land transport infrastructure.

In an address to a Australian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities meeting in its longstanding hearings for its ‘Inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities’, Gallacher, flanked by policy director Ash Sinha, urged a greater appreciation for the ‘blue highway’.

"Figures show that the country’s freight task is set to double and that our current and future spend on roads and rail will not be adequate to meet the requirement of the incoming freight tsunami."

"Over the last 25 years domestic sea freight has grown by 1 per cent where rail has grown by 210 per cent and road 61 per cent.

"For a maritime nation with over 70 ports strategically located right around our country, each with road and rail access, each with maritime related industry nearby, in either a capital city or regional town, a continuation of this imbalance surely is not in our national interest.

"Ports are intrinsically linked to our prosperity, ensuring that the gateways to Australia’s economy are healthy and vibrant is only a good thing for all Australia."  

Ports Australia believes, properly harnessed, shipping can help other modes as well as the national good as and through:

  • a cost effective and efficient method of moving freight, particularly, non-time specific freight around our country.
  • helping to reduce long distance truck movements which commence within our cities and thereby reduce congestion
  • reducing unnecessary long distance truck movements from country and regional roads by moving the heavy vehicle collection point closer to the delivery location
  • improving health and safety of trucks drivers by reducing long haul distances
  • improving road safety and travel times by reducing the number of truck on our city roads
  • reducing degradation of country and regional roads and associated repair costs by reduced long haul heavy vehicle travel along major freight routes
  • improving environmental outcomes, both noise and air quality, particularly in capital cities and regional towns on major road freight routes
  • increasing job opportunities in regional port cities or nearby communities by increasing job demand through port expansion and diversification
  • limiting the migratory flows from regional centres to our cities through job creation
  • helping alleviate housing affordability pressures through a more sustainable population growth in our cities while attracting some to regional centres.

"Governments around the nation are investing billions into road and rail to relieve congestion, improve road safety outcomes, connect inland regional communities directly with capital cities to improve quality of life, freight efficiencies and invest in the nation’s economic growth," Gallacher says.


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