The latest figures released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics look at how the freight task has grown in recent years, while also looking back at trends over the past 40 plus years.
The figures show Western Australia’s road freight volumes, measured in tonne-kilometres have increase, on average 7.5 per cent a year between 1971 and 2013. The growth in freight has reduced in recent years with just four per cent growth between 2012 and 2013 in the state. However, this is still the highest growth rate in Australia.
The overall growth in freight from 2012 to 2013 in Australia saw South Australia record a rise of 2.38 per cent while New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria grew at less than two per cent per annum in the last year.
The total amount of freight on our roads in 2013 is estimated to have been 204.9 billion tonne-kilometres. This compares to the figure of just 27 billion tkm back in 1971. Of the overall figure of 204.9 tkm, NSW accounts for 65 billion tkm, Victoria 43 billion tkm, WA at 40 billion tkm and Queensland 36 billion tkm.
The main thrust of the report shows how unrelenting the growth in the freight task is. There is never a year where the numbers go backwards. Even when economic growth slips, the billions of tonne-kilometres keep on rising.
Demand for freight services has never been higher, yet freight rates remain relatively low. It would seem the next investigation should be on how such high levels of demand for road freight services in the economy have not led to higher prices.