PORTS Australia chief executive Mike Gallacher says the coming “freight tsunami” makes effective coastal shipping crucial.

In a recent statement, Mr Gallacher welcomed discussions by politicians on the future of Australian shipping noting it should be an issue ahead of the 2019 election.

“Australia has a freight tsunami approaching with a freight task that is doubling and a population that is growing beyond all forecasts, we know the current national infrastructure is struggling to cope and we know the planned infrastructure won’t be enough,” Mr Gallacher said.

“Improved coastal shipping conditions and increasing the number of Australian flagged vessels are certainly one way of unlocking the potential of Australia’s blue highway and of providing an opportunity for young Australian’s to enter the maritime sector.”

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Mr Gallacher said coastal shipping and the national fleet were parts of the bigger puzzle of the best way to move freight in, out and around Australia.

“Congestion, liveability and connectivity of our cities are critical issues in this year’s elections and are all linked to the ability to move freight efficiently in, out and around the country,” he said.

“We need rail, road and shipping all working together to achieve a positive national outcome, and all three have a role to play.”

Mr Gallacher said Australia’s “blue highway” was not just free but connected most of the population, providing an opportunity to relieve the burdens on roads and rail networks.

“Ports are Australia’s gateways to the world and facilitate almost all of Australia’s physical trade. Our ports need experienced mariners to continue to ensure Australia’s trade transpires effectively and without incident,” Mr Gallacher said.

More information about coastal shipping issues is included in the February print edition of Daily Cargo News.

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