Freight council launch brings together Victorian logistics

<p>The Victorian Sea Freight Industry Council, the Victorian Road Freight Advisory Council and the Victorian Rail Freight Advisory Council have been amalgamated to form a new overarching freight advisory council.</p> <p>The new Victorian Freight and Logistics Council, which met for the first time this week, will take over all operations of the rail, road and sea advisory bodies it replaces.</p> <p>However, a specialist Road Freight Council will continue to advise VicRoads on road freight and operational issues.</p> <p>Victorian transport minister Peter Batchelor said the establishment of the Victorian Freight and Logistics Council heralds a new era of cooperation within the sector.</p> <p>"The freight and logistics sector is Victoria’s economic lifeblood, contributing at least $21bn to the state’s economy and employing about 100,000 people," he said.</p> <p>The council will provide advice to the Government on policy and strategic issues across the rail, road and sea areas, including infrastructure investment, the sustainability of freight services and innovation.</p> <p>The council will also have an airfreight presence, in the form of the chairman of the Victorian Airfreight Council, Richard Pierse.</p> <p>The formation of the new council is in keeping with the significant changes the freight and logistics industry has undergone in recent years by being more cross modal in operation and outlook, Mr Batchelor said. </p> <p>"With its intermodal focus, the council will be able to identify impediments to the efficiency of freight and logistics operations in Victoria and, more importantly, find solutions," he said.</p> <p>The Victorian Government has committed $450,000 over three years and the Federal Government $100,000 in 2004&#4705 to help set up and run the council.</p> <p>John Begley, managing director of freight forwarder Manton Begley Woodall and a former chairman of the Sea Freight Industry Council, has been appointed the inaugural chair of the council.</p> <p>Mr Batchelor said Mr Begley brings a wealth of experience to his role at the head of the new council.</p> <p>Other members of the council include Port of Melbourne Corporation CEO Stephen Bradford, Victorian Transport Association executive director Phil Lovel, Austrak general manager Bill Green and Trades Hall Council assistant secretary Nathan Niven.</p> <p>The present VSFIC executive officer, Rose Elphick, will head VFLC Ltd, an independent company that will provide executive and administrative support to the new council.</p> <br />