Chester appoints national freight strategy panel

Panel report will suggest regulatory changes and investment opportunities, both public and private

Chester appoints national freight strategy panel
Darren Chester says the draft report will be available for consultation in December.


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the appointment of an expert panel to help with the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

The announcement was made by federal transport and infrastructure minister Darren Chester during the ALC Forum dinner in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The National Freight and Supply Chain Panel will include:

  • NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas,
  • Qube Holdings MD Maurice James
  • Freight Logistics Council of WA chair Nicole Lockwood.

"The inquiry will draw on a significant amount of work completed already, including the National Ports Strategy, National Land Freight Strategy, and current state and territory freight/port strategies and plans," Chester says.

"The panel will examine any regulatory and investment barriers alongside opportunities to improve the capacity and reduce the cost of transporting goods through our major national container ports and intermodal terminals."

The panel will conduct industry consultation to look at issues such as:

  • The capacity of our key national export ports, airports and intermodal terminals in comparison to international markets with similar characteristics
  • Trends occurring in the global supply chain
  • The adequacy of investment planning to meet forecast growth to keep Australia's position with its trading partners
  • The regulatory and investment barriers to improved efficiency and access to key national terminals, including road and rail corridors."

Chester says it will also look at opportunities for "regulatory changes and targeted investment to lift the capacity of key supply chain nodes and improve efficiency of operations.

"This includes identifying the costs and benefits of options at a national level; transparent public performance measures for key national terminals; and broad first and last mile issues."

The panel will also consider opportunities related to new technologies and big and open data that can help improve infrastructure performance.

The minister says both the industry and the government want to know about the "options for scenario planning and predictions, where possible, related to the following areas:

  • Future developments across the supply chain including distributed production and changes in technology
  • Urban distribution and population growth and changing consumer activities such as online shopping
  • Potential decentralisation and redistribution of the population into regional centres
  • Trade arrangements and the development of distribution systems in agriculture
  • Impacts on the supply chain following major climatic events.

The draft report that will ready for industry and government review in December, and the final report will be presented to the government in March next year.

"This is a good example of government working with industry to plan for the longer term and respond to a rapidly changing environment," Chester says.

ALC says the strategy will be "critical in shaping supply chain policy and delivering national economic growth".

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