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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2018
84 ALC FORUM 2018 Navigating the last mile – CBD freight delivery and eCommerce Chaired by Royce Christie, Group General Manager Government Relations for Toll Group, this panel explored the increasing challenge of freight delivery in CBD and inner-urban areas. Christie opened by noting some of the factors behind these challenges, most notably increasing population, changing consumer expectations, continued growth of residential development within CBD areas, and the prevalence of construction zones in many CBD areas around Australia. Angus McKay, Chief Executive Officer of 7-Eleven Stores, said that freshness was critical to his organisation’s customers, and thus the old model where you might get away with having one delivery per week is no longer applicable. There are more and more people living in CBD areas, and they will generally seek their supplies within a block of home or the office. Customers expect freshly made sandwiches to be sitting on the shelves when they want them, and simply won’t buy a sandwich in the evening if it has been sitting on the shelf since early that morning. This is a worldwide phenomenon – in Tokyo, a typical 7-Eleven store will turn over its contents three times per day. This poses an enormous challenge for delivery drivers, especially in CBDs where they must compete for restricted road space and loading zones. Ben Newton, Head of Transport Development, Woolworths Group Supply Chain, and Chair of the ALC Regulation Committee, noted that Woolworths has 6000 truck movements per day, and moves 1.2 billion cartons per year. He said that store profiles are changing in response to consumer behaviour, with Woolworths having an increasing number of smaller stores in CBD/inner metropolitan areas (particularly in Sydney and Melbourne), and a rapidly growing online section of the business, which is undertaking around four million deliveries per year. Increasing numbers of customers are doing their shopping without a car, and using the CBD outlets to do smaller, but more frequent shops. This imposes challenges for stock management – particularly as the smaller stores generally also have smaller delivery docks that are harder to access, and that can be further limited by vehicle curfews. Woolworths is looking at using different types of delivery vehicles (including electric vehicles) to overcome some of these constraints. James Dixon, General Manager Road and Air Networks, eCommerce Deliveries, Australia Post, advised attendees that Australia Post made 400 million deliveries last year, and much of the growth is as a result of the increasing popularity of eCommerce. Australia Post is also undertaking an increasing number of deliveries to collection points (such as Woolworths stores), where customers then go to collect their items. It is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver into CBD areas, both because of congestion and limitations on vehicular access, and also because many developments do not incorporate proper delivery infrastructure. Australia Post is developing solutions to work around these limitations, including now having around 4000 electric delivery bikes in its fleet. Marg Prendergast, Coordinator General, Transport Coordination, Transport for NSW, said that many of the problems being discussed could be traced back to poor planning. There is a particular tendency for loading docks to be scaled back during the approvals and construction process, which is something that needs to be more effectively monitored and addressed. She also cited a need for government to work with industry on other creative solutions, particularly around the timing of deliveries into CBD areas, and establishing the infrastructure that would better enable them. CBD areas should focus on the needs of pedestrians, public transport and freight movement ahead of the needs of other transport. The discussion with delegates that followed highlighted the need to support the trial of infrastructure such as urban freight consolidation hubs to try and address the prevalence of ‘white vans’ on CBD streets, which are adding to traffic congestion pressures. Angus McKay, Marg Prendergast, James Dixon and Ben Newton