THE AUSTRALIAN Logistics Council has called for a more sustainable and efficient freight and logistics supply chain ahead of the upcoming federal election.

The ALC said it has outlined five policy priorities to strengthen the supply chain, which it encourages parties and candidates to adopt in the national interest.

The council noted the supply chain has faced an onslaught of challenges, natural disasters, geopolitical tensions, increasing costs, labour constraints and increases in demand since the onset of the pandemic.

ALC CEO Brad Williams said the recent disruptions have put the supply chain in the spotlight and have underscored the importance of the industry to the national economy.

“The freight and logistics supply chain has been front and centre for two years, against a backdrop of back-to-back challenges, the supply chain and in particular the workforce has kept the nation supplied, fed, and fuelled,” Mr Williams said.

“ALC policy priorities are about the necessary structural and technological change that will build our capacity to absorb major shocks and allow us to respond to the growing needs and expectations of Australian households, businesses and communities.”

Mr Williams said Australia’s freight task is growing, and that the urban freight challenge expects to see growth of 60% between now and 2040.

“Each year our freight and logistics companies and infrastructure operators move about four billion tonnes of goods across Australia, 163 tonnes of freight for every person – this is an enormous task that contributes more than $140 billion to the economy,” he said.

“In order to achieve a more sustainable and efficient freight and logistics supply chain, we need targeted investment, better planning and more collaboration to support the national economy.”

The first of the five policy priorities outlined by the ALC is a strategic approach to building the nation’s rail freight capacity and freight intermodals to drive modal shift from road to rail.

The second priority is an early review of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to incorporate pandemic and supply chain disruption learnings and to re-focus planning and investment.

The ALC also called for assistance to help the freight and logistics industry to progress toward net zero emissions, and support in building skills to help address current shortages and future needs.

The final policy priority outlined by the ALC is the implementation of a National Road User Charge to maintain infrastructure investment.