National Land Freight Strategy released

September 11, 2012 | Charles Pauka courtesy of  Transport and Logistics News on-line 
Forming a B-triple. Image courtesy of NTC.

Federal transport and infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has released a National Land Freight Strategy, claimed to be “a long-term blueprint for a streamlined, integrated and multimodal transport system capable of moving goods into and out of major ports and around our country quickly, reliably and at the lowest cost.”

Developed by InfrastructureAustraliawith extensive input from the National Transport Commission, industry as well as state and territory authorities, it will now be up to the states’ infrastructure and transport ministers to work together to develop an action plan for turning the strategy’s vision into a reality, Mr Albanese said.

The strategy is underpinned be a number of key principles:

1. One national, integrated network: Replacing fragmented, ad-hoc decision-making with a proper, long-term planning approach that identifies the existing and yet-to-be built roads, rail lines, intermodal terminals, ports and airports which together form a workable, truly national freight network.

This process would endeavour to protect current and future transport corridors and other strategic pieces of land from urban encroachment.

2. Better use of our existing infrastructure: Over the long term it will be far smarter and cheaper to get the most out of our existing infrastructure than to always build anew.

In practice, this could mean fitting new technology to improve traffic flows along major motorways, using higher productivity vehicles, creating dedicated freight routes and separating passenger trains from freight trains.

3. Fairer, more sustainable financing arrangements: Whilst in recent years there’s been a surge in spending on the nation’s roads (up 50 per cent), railways (up 118 per cent) and ports (up 305 per cent), building and maintaining a network fit for purpose requires mechanisms for ensuring the right investment occurs in the right place at the right time.

To obtain a full copy of the strategy

From the Trucking Peak Group –

Road transport industry welcomes strategy

The Australian Government’s National Land Freight Strategy will boost productivity and safety on the roads, the chief executive of the Australian Trucking Association Stuart St Clair said.

One of the strategy’s initiatives is the trialling of high-productivity vehicles like B-triples and super B-doubles on key freight routes such as the Hume Highway.

A B-triple is a prime mover with three trailers linked by turntables. Two B-triples can do the work of more than four standard semitrailers. A super B-double consists of a prime mover and two trailers that can carry more cubic freight – such as lightweight paper products – than a conventional B-double.

Mr St Clair said increasing the use of high-productivity vehicles would enable the trucking industry to use freight routes more efficiently and reduce the need for new infrastructure.

He said it would also boost safety, because reducing the growth in the number of trucks and other vehicles on the road would result in fewer accidents.

“It takes 42 semitrailers to deliver a thousand tonnes of freight, but only 20 B-triples. The chance of an accident is influenced by the number of vehicles on the road, so when you reduce the number of vehicles you need to do the job, you reduce the accident risk,” Mr St Clair said.

“In addition, the prime movers used in high-productivity vehicles like B-triples and super B-doubles are new and equipped with the latest safety features, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-assist technology to alert the driver if the truck drifts from the centre of its lane.

“And finally, their drivers are licensed to a higher standard than semitrailer and rigid truck drivers.”

Mr St Clair said increasing the use of high-productivity vehicles would also deliver environmental gains.

“If we take the example of moving a thousand tonnes of freight again, by using 20 B-triples you would emit 32 per cent less carbon dioxide than the 42 semitrailers you would otherwise need,” he said.

“The government’s strategy is a win for productivity, a win for safety – and a win for the environment as well,” he said.

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