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Trucking industry welcomes draft freight strategy

22 February 2011

The trucking industry has welcomed the Government’s draft National Land Freight Strategy, released today.

The Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association, David Simon, said improving the efficiency of the freight system would have immense benefits for consumers and Australia’s competitiveness.

“Productivity growth in Australia is at a 40-year low. Increasing the efficiency of the freight system will lead to a slower growth in prices and a more competitive economy, while also giving trucking operators the chance to keep some of the efficiency gains to improve their viability,” Mr Simon said.

“The Government and the Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Minister Albanese, have shown great leadership in developing the draft strategy, which would make the point to point movement of freight more efficient and open key national freight routes to longer, safer and more productive vehicles.

“The trucking industry has long argued that we should be able to operate B-triples and other high productivity trucks on appropriate routes. A B-triple is a prime mover with three trailers linked by turntables.

“These trucks are not only more efficient: they are also safer, because you need fewer trucks to move the same amount of freight. In addition, these trucks have the latest safety features, their drivers are licensed to the highest standard and they have greater roll stability,” he said.

Mr Simon said the Government would also need to open up more sections of the current road network to AB-triples and BAB-quads, which are modern replacements for the classic Australian road train.

“These truck and trailer combinations are safer than traditional road trains. They are less likely to roll over because of the way they are designed,” he said.

Mr Simon said the industry welcomed the proposal to introduce dedicated road freight infrastructure where traffic density permits, such as between capital city ports and intermodal facilities.

“This proposal would separate trucks and cars, reduce congestion, and increase the reliability of freight deliveries. The dedicated infrastructure we would like to see could include freight-only on or off ramps, dedicated lanes and priority signalling around freight hubs, and enabling trucks to use underutilised bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes,” he said.