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Trucking industry announces major environmental study

08 April 2011

With debate continuing about the Government’s proposed carbon price, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has commissioned a major research study into the environmental credentials of the trucking industry.

The ATA is the peak body that represents the industry. Its members include state and sector trucking associations and some of Australia’s major logistics companies. The study is being prepared by The Centre for International Economics (TheCIE).

The study will provide evidence about how the industry has improved its environmental performance, before looking at possible future developments, including:
• alternative fuels;
• emerging technology and logistics developments that could reduce the industry’s environmental footprint, such as optimal vehicle usage models;
• issues involved in substituting between transport modes, such as moving freight from road to rail;
• the impact of policy changes such as increasing the use of safer vehicles with greater capacity; and
• options for dealing with climate change, including the impact of the proposed carbon price.

The Chief Executive of the ATA, Stuart St Clair, said the industry had accepted and promoted the use of cleaner engines and cleaner fuel.

“A modern Euro 5 truck, like the prime mover that Volvo has loaned the ATA to tow our safety and careers exhibition, emits a third of the carbon monoxide as a truck from the mid-1990s, a quarter of the nitrogen oxide, and about a twentieth of the particulates. It also uses less fuel. Sometimes this is forgotten in the face of the public perception that trucks are still dirty,” Mr St Clair said.

“It’s time for all new diesel engines sold in Australia to be subject to the same emission standards as trucks, and it’s time for the ATA to fund this study to show the environmental advances we have made and what can be done in the future.

“The study is particularly important given the debate about the Government’s proposed carbon price. The ATA is a member of the climate change department’s peak stakeholder liaison group. We will use the results of the study to help get the best outcome we can for our members.

“The Government’s proposal is not detailed enough for the ATA to reach a position yet, but we will be reminding politicians that the trucking industry has invested vast sums of money on upgrading its fleet to meet the steadily tightening emissions standards.

“Trucking businesses are taxed heavily through road user and registration charges, and are already paying more for fuel as a result of the rising price of oil. Many businesses are finding it impossible to pass those extra costs on, because of the economic climate,” he said.

The managing director of TheCIE, Brent Borrell, will present the findings of the study at the 2011 Australian Trucking Convention at the National Convention Centre, Canberra, on 27 May.