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THE Australian government has launched a prototype of the National Freight Data Hub.

The prototype comes after the government’s announcement of $16.5 million in funding in the 2021-22 budget to develop the hub further.

Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Michael McCormack said the hub would be a trusted source of freight data for industry, government and others to improve the efficiency, safety and resilience of the freight sector.

“The hub will highlight important information about traffic volumes, congestion, road condition and rest area usage, to improve road safety for the nation’s freight operators,” Mr McCormack said.

“Every Australian, everywhere, every day relies on a truck driver, which is why we need high-quality, easily accessible data to make sure the movement of goods and services is as efficient as possible, especially as Australia’s freight task grows.”

The ports perspective

NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said the prototype website is an important first step toward a comprehensive National Freight Data Hub.

“A fully developed National Freight Data Hub, with data across all supply chains, will assist with decision-making and evidence led-investments to enhance the efficiency and resilience of Australia’s freight supply chains and to quantify investment outcomes,” Ms Calfas said.

The Australian Logistics Council CEO Kirk Coningham said data is the new oil and having an integrated National Freight Data Hub is critical to the delivery of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

“The ALC commends the government on the launch of the prototype website and looks forward to working together on this vital project, to ensure it meets the needs of industry now and into the future,” Mr Coningham said.

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A congestion metric

Assistant minister for road safety and freight transport Scott Buchholz said industry asked for a congestion metric to assist with their businesses and the Australian government has delivered this and more with the prototype hub website.

“The website showcases government and industry co-operation on a number of projects and allows users to search for data relevant to their business,” Mr Buchholz said.

“Interactive truck telematics maps are publicly available at a national level with insights on congestion in our cities and a national map of truck rest stops.”

Toll head of innovation Peter Carney said the congestion data will give the freight industry, and indeed all road users, a keener understanding of where and when congestion occurs.

“This will enable road users and governments to develop strategies for managing the effects of congestion,” Mr Carney said.

“The maps will assist drivers in planning their routes, because knowing where not to drive is as important as knowing where to drive.

What exactly is this hub?

The government plans for the hub to be a “federated data sharing network”, according to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.

The hub is to have three main functions: provide better access to existing government data, enable data exchange, and encourage leadership and innovation, connecting freight data users with each other.

“Establishing a hub as a trusted source of national freight data will provide a national picture of critical information to keep freight moving, such as where roadworks are occurring or the impact of congestion,” the department said

“It will also support container tracking to manage biosecurity and dangerous goods risks, forecast freight demand and provide insights into port performance.”

The National Freight Data Hub prototype website can be found at datahub.freightaustralia.gov.au.

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