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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2012
36 The National Freight Strategy has attracted 75 submissions. The National Ports Strategy will be considered by COAG soon, Mr Albanese said. The Minister also highlighted the government's infrastructure spending program, which includes the $1.1 billion modernisation of the Northern Sydney Freight corridor. The upgrade will lift capacity to the equivalent of 200,000 truckloads of cargo within the next 15 years, reducing congestion. Time wasted in traffic or in sea terminals will cost the national economy $20 billion per year by the end of the decade. Mr Albanese concluded by talking about his government's shipping reforms, stressing that the government needs to take action to ensure the viability of the country's sea transport sector. Australia's fleet of merchant ships has more than halved to 21 from 55 over the past decade. 'Unless we [take] action, there [will] be no fleet left to revitalise,' Mr Albanese said. SESSION 1 An internationally competitive freight network ALC Deputy Chairman and Gen- eral Manager Group Corporate Affairs for Toll, Andrew Ethell, chaired the first session of the Forum: 'An Internationally Competitive Australian Freight Network -- the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time.' To begin, he launched a report commissioned by ALC, called 'Towards An Efficient Freight Future -- A Review of Progress in Tackling Blockages to Freight Efficiency.' The report examines what action has been taken to address 23 critical supply chain blockages identified in an earlier ALC report in 2008. The report focuses on the extent to which the blockages have been given consideration by Infrastructure Australia in their reports to government. Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director, said the report shows that more needs to be done to improve access to key intermodal facilities and ports, which are critical links in the supply chain, particularly in our major cities. 'The report also shows that there is an ongoing need for all levels of government to develop and implement clearly articulated freight transport plans to drive greater efficiencies,' Mr Kilgariff said. Mr Kilgariff said the report contains a number of high-level recommendations designed to stimulate policy debate among industry and government to achieve a more efficient freight future. In his remarks, Mr Ethell called for a consistent and transparent approach on the part of government to decision-making. He called for pricing mechanisms that are equally applied to all players and avoid distorting the market. ALC Deputy Chairman and General Manager Group Corporate Affairs for Toll, Andrew Ethell FORUM 2012