The subjects of pricing, volume loading, COR and RSRT are joined by road train assembly areas and a National Freight Strategy in the news this week.
According to NatRoad, Mum and Dad small trucking businesses in Victoria are about to be unfairly targeted once more in a review by the Victorian Government, which may echo issues raised by the RSRT earlier this year.
“This Victorian review has all the hallmarks of union pushed industrial changes that unfairly target small trucking businesses in the transport sector,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “It is unlikely this review is about safety as these are union backed industrial changes that are about removing small independent mum and dad trucking businesses from the market.
“Unions favour an employee and employer model in the market, not independent small businesses that can set their own rates like small trucking businesses. The unions have active industrial campaigns to bring about these unfair changes in New South Wales and now in Victoria.
“Road transport doesn’t stop at State borders, so why do we continue to create red tape and complex industrial awards for a national industry? Adequate Commonwealth protections for small operators and contract carriers are in place through the Fair Work Act and the Independent Contractors Act.”
The Australian Trucking Association has welcomed the government’s commitment to consult on options for an independent price regulator for heavy vehicle charging. The commitment appears in the government’s response to Infrastructure Australia’s Australian Infrastructure Plan.
“Trucking operators are overcharged for our use of the roads, with the National Transport Commission finding that truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $515 million over the next two years,” said Noelene Watson, ATA CEO.
“Establishing an independent price regulator is a critical reform that should be progressed with urgency.The Government has previously committed to transition to independent heavy vehicle price regulation by 2017-18, and the trucking industry strongly encourages the Government to maintain this schedule.”
The National Transport Commission is looking for trucking industry feedback about possible ways to increase the volume of some heavy vehicles to increase their productivity. A new discussion paper outlines six possible options, five of which would allow longer heavy vehicles to access more roads and one allowing higher heavy vehicles to access more roads.
“We know that many heavy vehicles are operating below their current mass limits because they are carrying light-weight freight,” said Geoff Allan, Acting NTC CEO. “These options would help to reduce the number of trucks on Australian roads by allowing trucks to increase their volume and access a wider range of roads.”
A National Heavy Vehicle Regulator survey of 800 transport and logistics supply chain businesses is said to have shown there are still improvements to be made in implementing and managing Chain of Responsibility.
“The initial finding of the survey showed four out of five companies believed they had all or some systems in place to provide adequate COR training for managers,” said Tony Kursius, NHVR Compliance Executive Director. “We will now continue to work with these companies and those who don’t have any systems in place to improve their safety performance.
“The survey was aimed at both the heavy vehicle industry and the supply chain throughout Australia to gather information that can be delivered to support business that impact safety across the heavy vehicle industry.”
The full report, to be delivered by Macquarie University, is due out in 2017. So far, 90 per cent of participants considered everyone in the supply chain responsible for safety in transport operations.
Meanwhile, over in WA, construction has been completed on a new 28-bay Road Train Assembly Area, for 36.5 metre-long road trains, at Abernethy Road in Forrestfield. The $5 million RTAA is a link in the WA Government’s Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project.
“This assembly area will greatly improve productivity, safety and amenity for the freight industry by reducing congestion on local roads,” said Bill Marmion, WA Transport Minister. “Road trains, which previously had to park on local roadsides for trailer breakdown and assembly, now have a safe bitumen sealed area to park, drop a trailer and then deliver their loads to destinations.
“Freight operators will also no longer need to wait at the heavily congested intersections of Leach Highway or Kewdale Road/Horrie Miller Drive in order to travel southbound on Tonkin Highway or to connect to Roe Highway.”
The National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, being developed by the federal government has been welcomed by the Australian Logistics Council.
“ALC has long campaigned for a national strategy incorporating the various and interlinked components of Australia’s supply chains to achieve better long term planning outcomes and appropriate investment decisions,” said Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director.
“For example, ALC highlighted this as a priority in its election document Now Is the Time to Get the Supply Chain Right, and in a recent video ‘Why Do We Need A Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, in which industry leaders called for a National Strategy to support greater investment certainty.”