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NTC seeks shot in arm for trucking productivity

Policy body wants industry feedback on high-volume, low-weight freight rules


The National Transport Commission (NTC) wants industry feedback on volume measures in a bid to help raise the industry’s productivity.

The national policy organisation wants to determine industry thinking on whether there is an opportunity to lift freight productivity by increasing the permitted volume a heavy vehicle can carry to better accommodate low density freight movements.

The concern is that those transporting low weight freight may be held back by the current laws.

“We are interested in hearing from Australia’s transport industry whether reforms to these laws would provide a worthwhile productivity boost,” NTC chief executive Paul Retter says.

“Historically, Australia has enjoyed some success in increasing productivity through increases in heavy vehicle mass but the scope for further increases has narrowed over time, and we are keen to begin a discussion with governments and industry on other ways to lift productivity.”

An increase in the maximum volumetric load-carrying capacity did not require a corresponding increase in the permitted mass of the vehicle when carrying low density freight, he notes.

This type of freight has a relatively low mass but occupies a relatively high volume of load space.

Examples include palletised mixed freight, white goods, groceries and cars, where varying shapes tend to create gaps in the load, reducing their overall density.

“If we increased the maximum volume a heavy vehicle can carry fewer trips would be needed than otherwise,” Retter says.

“This potentially means less heavy vehicle traffic and congestion, better road safety outcomes and lower levels of transport emissions.”

“Not only would this be a good outcome for productivity it would also be a good outcome for other road users and our environment.

“However, there are also potential issues and costs, and we are seeking to start a discussion to inform the next stage of the project, which will involve the development of possible reforms.”

Submissions can be made here.

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