Sunday 27th May, 2018

Ports Oz boss says infrastructure spending good, coastal shipping reform better

Photo: Ian Ackerman
Photo: Ian Ackerman

SPENDING taxpayer money on infrastructure isn’t the only way to increase freight efficiency, according to Ports Australia CEO Michael Gallacher.

He said there are a number of good measures in the 2018-19 budget that will directly improve the supply chain, including the $400m to Port Botany freight line duplication.

“The rolling $75bn infrastructure spend needs to address areas of inefficiencies in the supply chain, but we can also increase efficiencies without spending taxpayer dollars, which is why a national freight and supply chain strategy is crucial,” Mr Gallacher said.

“The Federal Government’s Inquiry into the National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities identified that while the freight task is projected to double in the next 20 years, even with extra investment, Australian transport infrastructure will be unable to meet this demand.”

Legislative changes, such as reforming coastal shipping regulations, would instantly add capacity to Australia’s supply chain, “free of charge”, Mr Gallacher said.

“Increasing coastal shipping will create jobs in regional Australia, help alleviate congestion through our cities, breathe life into the shipping and ship building industry and increase skills in the maritime industry essential for an island nation and its strategic naval security,” he said.

“Improving the efficiency and capacity in and out of the Port will directly impact and reduce the congestion of cities, more liveable cities need better connected Ports.”

Mr Gallacher continued saying congestion costs the economy $16bn a year, and a holistic approach to freight could reduce congestion more effectively than a $1bn Band-Aid on road bottlenecks.

“By leveraging the capacity that exists within all ports and supply chains and by designing national solutions to the incoming freight challenge we can make huge gains in our ability to handle the freight task without costing the tax payer,” he said.

“Similarly reducing the regulatory cost around channel maintenance will allow Ports to create capacity for the next generation of larger ships bound for our shores.”

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