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Logistics growing at a faster rate than the economy

<p>Australian Logistics Council chairman Ivan Backman said logistics accounts for 90% of Australian GDP and is growing at a faster rate of knots than the economy.</p> <p>Mr Backman was addressing more than 100 industry executives at the Australian Logistics Council forum on the future in Melbourne today (Thursday, February 24).</p> <p>With Australia’s total freight task expected to double in the next 15 years, the focus should be on infrastructure and people, he said.</p> <p>"We have to act now to address this issue. In 2008 more people will leave the workforce than enter it," Mr Backman said.</p> <p>"If it is the same for all industries. Our number one concern is the shortage of skilled staff."</p> <p>The number of staff under the age of 19 is falling at the rate of 4% a year, and the implications of this are potentially catastrophic," Mr Backman said.</p> <p>The transport and logistics sector is labour intensive and it faces a crisis, he said.</p> <p>Mr Backman said rail is evolving into being the most cost-effective form of transport.</p> <p>He cited the example of Toll New Zealand which has transferred 45,000 truck movements to rail.</p> <p>Five extra freight transport operations between Melbourne and Sydney would effectively remove 50% of the required road journeys made by trucks.</p> <p>However, he did not discount the role road plays.</p> <p>Mr Backman said road is the most effective means of transport for short journeys and both modes have a fundamental role in the future.</p> <br />