by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2018
54 ALC OPINIONS ALC OPINION PIECES Freight patterns change and so must our plans MICHAEL KILGARIFF The Australian 7 July 2017 Although the words of our national anthem speak of having ‘boundless plains to share’, the lived experience of Australian society over recent decades points to increasing urbanisation. Few other nations have such a relatively sparse population so densely clustered in cities sprawled across such a vast continent. Sustained population increases, coupled with the increasing popularity of inner-city living, have created some unique challenges for Australia’s freight logistics industry. The essential items that most Australians take for granted – our food, household appliances, clothing, medications and cars, to name just a handful – are generally not grown or manufactured close to the cities where most of us live. These commodities must be transported from their point of origin to the retailers from which we buy them, or otherwise be delivered directly to our doors from airfreight terminals, ports or warehouses. Yet, as our cities grow, it is fast becoming apparent that our existing planning regimes fail to adequately prioritise the movement of freight. The congested state of freeways and other key road routes, and flight delays at airports, are a regular source of irritation for many Australians. Yet, these constraints in our road and air networks are not solely a problem for motorists and airline passengers. They also impose significant costs on the freight logistics industry. The disruption to the supply chain that occurs because of road congestion, as well as capacity issues afflicting airports, ports and rail freight facilities, have a direct bearing on the cost of moving freight – and thus on the prices paid for goods by Australian consumers. With the National Transport Commission projecting that Australia’s freight task will grow by 26 per cent over the next decade, it’s clear that unless corrective steps are taken quickly, the efficiency and safety of Australia’s supply chains will continue to suffer. In the lead-up to the 2016 federal election, the Australian Logistics Council urged the development of a comprehensive National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to address these challenges, and the federal government agreed to undertake the development of such a strategy in its November 2016 annual infrastructure statement. The consultation process for the strategy is now underway, and ALC has been proactive in working with those in the supply chain to identify the issues that the strategy must address. It is clear that among the most pressing of these is overcoming the regulatory and investment barriers limiting our capacity to achieve better outcomes. One of the most significant issues pertains to planning – specifically, the effect of urban encroachment on our freight and supply chains. The legacy of poor planning in the past is visited upon the freight logistics operators and consumers of today in the form of higher prices. In order to broaden the general community’s understanding of the importance of efficient and safe freight movement, ALC published the following opinion pieces in mainstream metropolitan daily newspapers in 2017.