Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail, Passenger Rail

Report a reminder of freight priority

Michael Kilgariff, managing director of ALC. Photo: Oliver Probert

A Commonwealth government report showing the cost of congestion in Australia is likely to increase by billions of dollars in coming years is a reminder to governments to give equal consideration to the movement of freight as to people.

Australian Logistics Council managing director Michael Kilgariff said transport congestion in cities which the government predicts could reach $37.3 billion by 2030, affects both passenger vehicles and heavy vehicles stifling efficiency and adding to costs.

“With the logistics industry estimated to add around $131.6 billion a year or 8.6% to GDP, it is vital that all levels of government give equal consideration to the movement of freight as they do to the movement of people,” Kilgariff said.

“This particularly relates to infrastructure projects which improve the efficiency of our export supply chains, including those to and from our major city ports.

“Addressing congestion in our cities requires a multi-faceted approach from all levels of government, and the fact that the Commonwealth has strongly committed to investing in our cities is a welcome development, particularly in light of these new congestion cost figures.

“However, any new federal approach to moving people should not be at the expense of supporting supply chain projects to move freight more efficiently. “

He said failure to fund key logistics projects would not make economic sense, especially when one considered a 1% improvement in supply chain efficiency would yield a $2bn-a-year national economic benefit.

“With Australia’s freight task predicted to double between 2010 and 2030 and triple by 2050, it is crucial that policy makers give equal priority to freight in their investment and policy decision,” he said.

This article originally appeared in Rail Express affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.

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