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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2016
26 COMPANY PROFILE X COMPANY PROFILE It is globally recognised that a country’s economic potential is directly linked to an efficient, nationwide freight logistics chain feeding into its major international trade hubs – ports. Currently, the majority of commodities produced and consumed within Australia are transported by road, despite extensive transport distances. With the country’s freight movements set to double by 2030, this heavy reliance on road transport is unsustainable. Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) is supportive of the federal government’s proposed Inland Rail project, which will play a critical role in shifting heavy freight traffic off the road network. If Australia is to remain globally competitive in the future, however, landside transport also needs to be complemented by a coastal shipping solution to achieve a more balanced modal-share approach to our freight logistics system. As part of the solution, coastal shipping has the potential to present a sustainable alternative for connecting ports and regions, and to overhaul the nation’s heavily burdened landside transport system. With major ports situated more than 900 kilometres apart, Australia is well placed to capitalise on coastal shipping as a sustainable domestic transport option. At its full potential, coastal shipping would deliver major economic and productivity benefits to the industry and the nation, including: • less pressure on our national road and rail networks, reducing road congestion and maintenance costs while freeing up rail capacity • enhanced modal choice and supply- chain flexibility for freight owners, driving efficiency through increased market competitiveness and reduced logistics costs • increased shipping services through regional ports, providing the industry with established access to regions that are often impacted by natural disasters and extreme weather events • reduced carbon emissions and consumption, translating into significant improvements in the nation’s environmental sustainability. Despite this, regulation and increasing costs are stifling the domestic coastal trading sector, which has seen the role of coastal shipping in the nation’s logistics chain decline in the last decade. For example, PBPL analysis confirms that under the current regulatory cost structure, it is significantly more expensive to ship goods domestically between Brisbane and Melbourne than it is to ship goods internationally between Shanghai and Melbourne on a similar vessel. These rising domestic shipping costs cannot compete with land-based services, and are considered a key factor in the ongoing reduction in shipping’s share of Australian freight movements, which are down from 27 per cent in 2000 to just below 17 per cent in 20121. Unless the regulations are addressed, the coastal shipping sector will continue to lose market share to road and rail, and Australian business will not have access to a full suite of competitive modal choices, like those that many international businesses currently embrace. Recent efforts by the federal government to pass proposed reforms to the current Coastal Trading Act and revitalise coastal shipping have been rejected by the Senate, despite the clear benefits to the industry. This decision is a missed opportunity, and has put the Australian shipping industry’s viability and competitiveness at risk. A remarkable opportunity lies in this deteriorating sector of the nation’s domestic freight movement, and it is critical that industry and government work collaboratively towards a coastal shipping solution. PBPL is committed to providing ongoing support for the proposed reforms, which are expected to be resubmitted to the Senate in 2016. The company will continue to work with industry to investigate new and innovative coastal shipping services, both intra- and interstate. The Port of Brisbane handles more than $50 billion of trade each year; its import and export operations are key contributors to the growth of the Queensland economy. Revitalising coastal shipping would support the Port’s continued contribution to growing Queensland’s economy and the national logistics network. Port of Brisbane – supporting a coastal shipping solution 1 Freightline 01, BITRE. 500379E_Port of Brisbane I 2242.indd 24 4/02/2016 9:41 AM