Qld releases freight strategy document

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  • Plant & Equipment

Bailey eyes collaboration for progress as ALC points to national system

QLD-Freight-Strategy

Queensland has a new freight statement of intent that aims to provide a 10-year policy guidance for transport and logistics for the next decade if realised.

Dubbed Queensland Freight Strategy – Advancing Freight in Queensland, it is pitched as a means to ends beyond the efficient movement of cargo, in support of the Our Future State: Advancing Queensland’s Priorities economic strategy.

  • supporting job creation through industry partnerships that ensure Queensland’s transport and logistics workforce is set up for success into the future
  • protecting the environmental, social and economic value of the Great Barrier Reef through more sustainable freight movements
  • prioritising customer-focused outcomes through establishing a flexible policy, planning and investment framework that is responsive to changing needs.

But it also seeks to create a more cohesive and rational system that leverages technological developments and focuses on safety.

"We can only create an integrated, resilient and safe freight system by working collaboratively," state transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey says.

"The Queensland Freight Strategy introduces shared commitments – reflecting the important role of industry, customers and government in shaping freight system need.

"The strategy will be used to guide the rolling two-year Queensland Freight Action Plan to provide more information about how government and stakeholders will work together to further freight in Queensland."

It aims to see Baily chairing freight councils as part of consultation processes involving industry participants while an active state Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) liaises closely with local councils in a way that recognises "the vital role they have in ensuring the freight system is connected".

In an acknowledgement that infrastructure investment can only go so far, TMR will be tasked with finding "ways to achieve greater economic benefit from the freight system, including how to address latent capacity and maximise use during peak demand periods".

It will also "explore innovative funding models, for example market-led proposals and public private partnerships, to open commercial freight investment opportunities that grow Queensland’s economy, meet community needs and address future freight system challenges".

Existing infrastructure will be sweated harder, through the use of smart technology to improve efficiency and reliability of freight movements.

This may also include drones, delivery bots and other autonomous vehicles.

The use of rail freight on key strategic corridors will be boosted through rail freight planning that encourages investment and attracts new entrants into the rail freight service market, boosting competition.

Appearing as it does just weeks after the devastating floods in and around Townsville, the strategy aims to bolster infrastructure resilience in the face of natural disasters, including supporting more coastal shipping.

At a time when the state government is backing alternative fuels, it will look to making the various modes ecologically sustainable while tackling the freight industry’s noise, dust and carbon emissions.

As the Queensland Trucking Association prepares to make the case for the use of anti-fatigue technology in its industry, the strategy commits the government to this and other technology fixes.

"Trials have demonstrated that technology is particularly effective for managing heavy vehicle driver fatigue, providing safe access for heavy vehicles and encouraging real-time monitoring of compliance with safety regulations – such as speed limits or braking restrictions in urban areas. Government and industry stakeholders will continue to monitor advances in technology and trial solutions that may provide benefit for Queenslanders," the strategy document states.

It touches on one of the crucial limiting factors to effective industry management, the use of reliable and useful data and analysis but, bar a promise to use them, there is no action foreseen on how they are to be realised.

The strategy’s release garnered a positive Australian Logistics Council (ALC) response, especially on the tech side.

"Over the next 10 years, the Queensland freight task is estimated to grow by 20 per cent, ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"This is why it is pleasing to see the Queensland Government recognise the impact that new technologies can have in addressing latent capacity challenges and improving the reliability of the freight network.

"We know Queensland is a State that is heavily impacted by extreme weather events. Just last month we saw the devastation of the flooding in Townsville. ALC supports the Queensland Government’s efforts to mitigate the effect these weather events have on ensuring groceries, medicines and other essential items are delivered to impacted communities. 

"The freight industry is filled with many organisations that are more than willing to help our fellow Australians when times are tough. Anything the Queensland government can do to help these organisations service those communities is appreciated."

While the strategy document does pledge that TMR "will collaborate closely with national and local governments to manage complex freight issues and ensure customer needs are prioritised", the ALC is concerned that, amongst other things, the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy is not referenced.

"The freight task does not end at the Queensland border," Coningham says.

"To have a truly national, efficient and safe supply chain, the Queensland government must work with the Commonwealth government to deliver the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

"The Strategy released today also does not provide concrete funding announcements or a pipeline of infrastructure works. 

"It is also disappointing the strategy fails to mention the rail connection between Acacia Ridge and the Port of Brisbane."

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