One of Australia’s ongoing problems is looking in our backyard and not out into the wider world. This can be said to be the case for the trucking industry and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, it will have massive knock-on effects on our industry and we should be getting ready.
Look at the news reports about the TPP and its all political points scoring, about protecting jobs or the US protecting their own industries. In fact, the agreement is a chance for a taste of reality. We are part of a global economy and, in our position, it is impossible to insulate ourselves from the rest of the world.
Australian trucking should be looking at the proposed agreement and licking its lips at the opportunities we can expect to follow on from its implementation. The TPP will increase the amount of trade, increase economic activity and, as a result, increase the demand for transport services.
Beef tariffs down nine per cent means more trucks on the road, as does the doubling of the access for the Australian sugar industry into the US, as well as increased sugar into Canada, Japan and Peru. Rice exports to Japan will rise, as will cheese, with the removal of a tariff, plus more access for milk powder and butter. Tariffs are to disappear for cereals, wine and seafood.
All of these goods will travel on a truck, and the producers will need to more inputs to help meet the new demand. Improved economic activity will be multiplied in the increasing freight task. More work and more trucks on the road will be needed.
At the same time our larger transport operators, who are involved in overseas operations will also benefit form changes to rules around integrated supply chains. There are enhanced commitments to integration as well as strong trade and investment protection for the providers of logistics services to Malaysia and Vietnam, both countries where Aussie transport companies are currently engaged, and looking to expand.
We have already seen the desire from our friends in Asia to tap into some of the great Aussie transport expertise, with the acquisition of Toll by Japan Post. This is an opportunity waiting for a solution.
So, what are we going to do, sit on our hands and complain about foreign interference and influence? Or get out there, get our hands dirty and get some of this new business?