At the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association conference last weekend, a questioner highlighted something which is going to be an ongoing issue for the industry. It was about maps, and the plethora of maps we have to deal with. Every state has a different kind of access and freight route map, some interactive, some not.
This has now been joined by a few more different maps from the Transport and Infrastructure Council with the full set of maps showing the key freight routes of Australia. In fact, there are forty maps in all, available for download.
Yet again, another organisation is adding another layer of complexity into planning for the freight industry. These bureaucrats are all in their silos creating wonderful maps to show what is going where, or what is allowed to go where. They clearly don’t talk to each other and all use different software and parameters to make their maps.
So, back to the poor freight operations planner trying to get a truck load of whatever from A to B. They are working through a series of completely incompatible maps online to work out how a particular truck, at a particular mass can legally get from consignor to consignee. A unified system, with one map, overlaid with all the state based regulatory differences would actually be more than useful.
One basic map could also be used by strategic planners, like Transport and Infrastructure, as a basis for their freight route analysis. The trucking industry could then look at where the industry needs to go and where it is allowed to go, at the same time and demonstrate what a bad job the, so called, strategic thinkers have been doing on our behalf.
Good strategic thinking is based on good data. This is what we have been lacking for a long time, precise data on where the freight of the today is going and where it will go in the future. This lack of co-operation between the various interest groups is part of the struggle for power and control, we are continuing to see between those who make decisions about the way the trucking industry is regulated and will develop.
If anyone is looking for inefficiencies in the national road freight transport system, thy need look no further than the time and effort transport companies have to waste just deciphering the many and varied mapping systems they have to use just to be able to get freight on the road from one state to another.