THE Victorian Transport Association and Maribyrnong Truck Action Group have welcomed progress towards incentivising freight operators to use lower emissions trucks in return for more time to use curfewed roads.

The Smart Freight Partnership – Inner West announced this week by the Victorian government evolved from the Maribyrnong Cleaner Freight Initiative, developed by the VTA and MTAG.

A key aim of the proposal was to reduce the environmental and amenity impacts, while providing an economic and productivity incentive for freight operators to invest in cleaner trucks.

The Smart Freight Partnership is an Australian first in terms of encouraging freight operators to modernise their fleets.

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As part of the Smart Freight Partnership, an Environment Freight Zone covering Somerville Road and Moore, Francis and Buckley streets in Melbourne’s inner west is to be established.

Access times to these roads is to be cut for trucks that fail to meet current emission control standards, resulting in a cut of two hours per day for the first two years, followed by a further two-hour reduction per day in subsequent years.

VTA chief executive Peter Anderson said industry and community groups could achieve great things when they worked together.

“It is encouraging that the Victorian government has recognised the merits of the visionary plan we developed with MTAG by establishing the Smart Freight Partnership, which we look forward to implementing in conjunction with operators, residents, Freight Victoria and local and state governments,” Mr Anderson said.

MTAG president Martin Wurt said he was pleased the Victorian government had recognised the community needed solutions to trucks on residential streets.

“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to achieve a final agreement,” Mr Wurt said.

Minister for ports and freight Melissa Horne said the government was “working with the transport industry to further encourage the use of state-of-the-art, cleaner and quieter trucks, that will benefit both industry and residents in local streets around our ports”.

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