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NSW launches draft freight strategy

Off-peak freight movements part of a planning effort that ALC casts as a first step with hefty resources needed to push it through

November 20, 2012

New South Wales transport ministers have unveiled the state’s draft Freight and Ports Strategy with a promise to
push for more freight movements in off-peak periods.

Under three main headings of network efficiency, capacity and sustainability, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay say the draft strategy aims to tackle inefficiencies and capacity constraints.

It follows extensive “consultation with freight operators, commodity producers and industry representatives from a wide range of industries across metropolitan and regional NSW” and the ministers pledge more to come.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) was quick to welcome the draft but cast it as a “important first steps” rather than the solution to the state’s freight and logistics challenges.

ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff says the following tasks would “include identifying the necessary steps to achieve the goal of getting more freight onto rail to Port Botany and specifying how councils will be provided assistance when considering requests for High Productivity Vehicle access”.

While the government rhetoric was a positive, the ALC was looking for it to put money where its mouth is.

“Putting in place appropriate funding and financing mechanisms is obviously critical to the success of this strategy and ALC looks forward to the measures outlined in the strategy receiving priority funding consideration by the NSW Government,” Kilgariff says.

“Also important is ensuring the strategy is consistent with the freight initiatives contained in the National Land Freight Strategy, the National Port Strategy and the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform project.

“Unless there is consistency in key areas such as heavy vehicle pricing and investment, port planning and the development of a seamless interstate freight network, the much anticipated productivity benefits of these reforms are at risk.

“I am pleased the Strategy acknowledges the importance of corridor preservation so we do not repeat mistakes of the past where key freight routes have been crowded out from inappropriate development.

“As the plan progresses, we look forward to the NSW Government providing more information on their proposed funding mechanisms to secure the land necessary to maintain and buffer key freight routes.

The ALC gave the thumbs up on encouraging off peak delivery patterns to supermarkets and hopes that this will ultimately be used to develop documentation that councils must consider when making local heavy vehicle access decisions.

It also backed the Government’s intention to create a NSW Container Movement Coordinator which will need to take into account the significant efficiency, consistency and transparency improvements which have been achieved by the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy.

“We also acknowledge the NSW Government’s support for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and trust this converts to the provision of necessary resources to ensure the NHVR has the ‘teeth’ necessary to deliver on this reform’s potential economic benefits,” Kilgariff says.

The draft strategy can be found here

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