Sunday 22nd Jul, 2018

Congestion threatens to stall freight movements, report finds

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A SOARING population centred in large cities with congested roads and rail networks is set to pose a mighty challenge to the smooth movement of goods, a new report has found.

The recently published scenario planning study from Deakin’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics, was commissioned by the Commonwealth government as part of Australia’s first Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

Project leader Dr Roberto Perez-Franco, a Senior Research Fellow at the Deakin centre, said the scenarios allowed experts to obtain important insights into how Australia could be successful.

“Urban congestion is a problem that will only get worse in the future, unless urban planners include provisions for freight and supply chains into their plans for cities,” Dr Perez-Franco said.

“Freight is expected to double over the next 20 years, so industry and all levels of government need to work together to ensure that happens smoothly and with a positive impact on the nation’s prosperity.”

The Deakin project identified about 200 future “drivers of change” through interviews with experts in the supply chain industry.

Dr Perez-Franco said a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy was critical for Australia to maintain pace with threats from global development, growing automation, climate change and a rising population.

“This strategy will inform the development of infrastructure that will take several years to implement and then needs to last decades. So it’s critical we look deep into the future,” he said.

The scenario planning is said to build on methodology developed by a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which included Dr Perez-Franco, in 2010.

Dr Perez-Franco said there were significant opportunities for Australia to stay ahead of the game.

“‘Brand Australia’ could become even more important for the country’s exports. We can really set ourselves apart as a clean, green and ethical source of agricultural products if we make our supply chain a priority.”

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