FREIGHT: The new B-quad unveiled in South Australia earlier this month.
FREIGHT: The new B-quad unveiled in South Australia earlier this month. ANDREW BEVERIDGE/ASBCREATIVE.COM

Give multi-combos a chance to help us compete

THE annual freight task in Australia is about 750 billion tonne kilometres and growing at about five per cent year on year.

This consistent growth trend has been experienced for many decades and Queensland carries about 22per cent of that freight.

We are a vast country/ state and highly decentralised with a relatively low population.

Transport costs are becoming an acute issue.

The World Bank measures on our logistics performance puts us at 19th in the world, sitting between Ireland and South Africa. A further measure of "ease of trading” across borders places Australia at 95th globally - in 2006 we were 23rd.

This decline in productivity has in part been due to it being well over 20years since our last increase in general access lengths and network adoption of limited access vehicles across the land-based trade routes of this country.

Let me take agriculture as one example where freight costs are impeding much of agriculture's export competitiveness.

This is not unique across the sectors of road freight.

Road freight is a critical element to our GDP and standards of living.

To be able to compete in an internationally facing economy we need action on efficiency measures.

Costs are ever increasing on vehicle registration, insurances, audit fees and the road user (fuel) excise, to name a few.

The policy shift by government to toll regional infrastructure (Toowoomba) is going to add a significant increase to these costs.

In the end the consumer pays but in the meantime transport operators have to find efficiency measures as many customers will not accept the full cost flow-ons from government-imposed charges.

It is time for safe and efficient multi-combinations to be given their chance to make this country competitive and not be languishing at 19th in the world.

Big Rigs

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