The National Transport Commission has said productivity will become the main focus for its work over the next four years. A statement released outlined a range of projects designed to boost transport networks. It says it will seek to identify ways to deliver quicker and cheaper road, rail and intermodal networks, particularly for Australia’s freight and logistics industry. This announcement follows the approval by Australia’s transport ministers of anew work program last week.
“A growing economy needs more productive transport networks and these projects will help us find new ways of getting goods to market more efficiently,” said Michelle Hendy, Acting CEO of the NTC. “The latest statistics show that Australia’s transport, postal and warehousing industry’s productivity declined by 3.3 per cent in the past year.
“Yet, our freight task is expected to increase by 80 per cent between 2010 and 2030 and triple by 2050, with truck traffic alone predicted to increase by around 50 per cent to 2030. Making it easier for high productivity trucks to access our roads which will reduce heavy vehicle trips, transport emissions, fatalities and road wear.”
The NTC’s productivity program will look at systems, tools and decisions, already shown to increase productivity in different states, territory or local government areas. It will also develop options to increase load volumes allowed to be carried by high-productivity trucks, when the weight can safely be carried and investigate the market for PBS to see if there is more it can do to improve design innovation.
There was also a commitment to complete the projects the NTC has already started, such as the heavy vehicle roadworthiness program, and also included several proposed reform areas, including identifying any regulatory or operational barriers to more automated road and rail vehicles.
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the NTC’s renewed commitment and ATA CEO Christopher Melham said the focus on productivity would help the trucking industry address the growing freight task in the safest, most efficient manner possible.
“The national freight task is expected to grow by 80 per cent between 2011 and 2031, with the trucking industry handling a large part of this extra freight,” said Melham. “Last week’s Australian Infrastructure Audit Report warned that governments must focus on policy reforms to improve higher productivity vehicle use and the performance of highway infrastructure. It’s fantastic to see the NTC taking this advice seriously.
“However, NTC still needs to increase its focus on measures that will deliver productivity improvements in the short term. In particular, the ATA urges the NTC to develop projects to increase the steer axle mass limit, investigate the use of ultrawide tyres, support the recognition of third party heavy vehicle safety accreditation programs, reconsider the bridge formula and examine an increase in vehicle length, particularly so the industry can handle the 45 foot containers.”