A NATIONAL freight data hub is set to be created in order to provide industry and government with better and more transparent information.

In a joint statement, urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack announced the policy.

“We are committing $8.5m to settle the design of a National Freight Data Hub in response to industry calls for better freight data availability and sharing,” the statement read.

“This includes arrangements for data collection, protection, dissemination and hosting, and the establishment of the freight data exchange pilot to allow access to freight data in real time.”

The report recommending the creation of a data hub was prepared by the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre.

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Managing director of iMove Ian Christensen said the hub would act as the nation’s central collector and disseminator of freight data, similar to how the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides information about the economy.

“The expanding population and the growing popularity of online shopping are dramatically increasing the national freight task,” Mr Christensen said.

“iMOVE expects this to increase by 75% in 20 years (2011-2031) and that means, more trucks, more freight trains, and vehicles operating more hours every day,” he said.

“That growth in truck movements is ringing alarm bells. It brings with it the unenviable prospect of more congestion, more air pollution, more noise and more truck accidents; unless we do something about it.”

Mr Christensen said the new hub would feature the use of technology to monitor freight.

“In a country as large, and yet as intensely urbanised as Australia, freight supply chains play a key role,” he said.

“The efficiency of these freight supply chains materially impacts on our productivity performance and, ultimately, living standards.” The changes are expected to build on the 20-year National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which recommends benchmarking freight performance through identifying, collecting and sharing data.

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