Taking Freight to the Future with New Innovation

June 18, 2019

Logistics is an industry which is constantly evolving to keep up with new trends, growth, and innovation. As the world becomes more connected importing and exporting transportation methods need to keep up. Freight is already looking towards the future with new innovations.

There is no point investing in new technology, vehicles, and equipment without understanding the facts and figures. The predictions for the future are positive, and in Australia land freight is expected to grow nationally by 75% by the year 2031. International trade has already doubled over the last 10 years, and this is set to double again over the next 20 years. Having the infrastructure and logistical services to support this rising trend will be crucial. With the recent election we have seen some changes with Hon. Scott Buchholz being appointed as the Minister for Road and Safety Transport in the brand new portfolio. This shows freight is a priority for the Government which is good news for those in the industry.

In a digital age, importers and exporters are expecting their goods sooner as demand from their customers rises. Air freight is becoming increasingly popular due to its high speed, and Deakin University have predicted more flights will be freight only in the future. Following other countries, in the future smaller deliveries will likely be delivered by drones, and this may eventually evolve to support larger freight.

Greener logistics is a growing trend, and innovation begins with reducing transport emissions. Fleets which include electric vehicles and more efficient trucks, ships, and planes are key to this. The creation of electric vehicles is contributing to the creation of new jobs as part of the robotics industry. By 2020 robotics is set to be worth $100 billion dollars and there are numerous ways this will positively impact logistics. In addition to electric vehicles, advanced tools and tracking will ensure better accuracy of delivery and fewer returns. Recycled packaging is a simple, yet high impact environmental solution when done on a large scale.

One of the most interesting, yet highly debated, subject is automated transport. While we probably won’t experience an apocalyptic earth run by machines (at least in the foreseeable future), automation is beginning to show its face. In the US, there are tests being carried out to determine the viability of automated freight. One company is working with the US Postal Service to see how their driverless vehicles can safely deliver goods between Phoenix, Arizona, Dallas, Texas, and New Mexico. If this is successful, the implications in Australia could be huge. Long trips often require multiple drivers or breaks which could be virtually eliminated with this technology. In 2015, 17% of the road toll was related to heavy vehicles and using automated trucks could be a safer, more efficient option. In WA the mining industry has already embraced automation with the use of self driving trains.

The logistics industry is one which is set for continued growth, and this equates to investment into innovation. Automation, efficiency, and reliability are all areas we will be watching closely.

The Future of Australia’s Infrastructure

April 30, 2019

The countdown to the election is on, and the big players in parliament are showing their hands with the promise of future spending. The Federal Government has released their 2019-20 Budget and as always there are winners and losers. When investments are made in the right type of infrastructure the long term benefits can dramatically change the affected communities for the better.

If re-elected, the Federal Government confirmed they will spend $100 billion on infrastructure investment which is an additional $25 billion than what we saw in 2018.

Let’s take a more in depth look at what the future of Australia’s infrastructure looks like:

Rail is the Biggest Winner

Rail is one area which is in focus, and this all starts with the $2 billion commitment towards Melbourne and Geelong fast rail. There are other fast rail projects already in the works which connect our major cities with regional ones. The total for inland rail tallies in at $9.3 billion but this doesn’t mean smaller towns will necessarily miss out.

$44 million will be dedicated to determining which existing regional rail networks would benefit from upgrades and improvements. A further $206 million will be available for other infrastructure in regional communities.

How Does Freight Look?

$1 billion has been flagged for port access and freight improvements including regional roads and highways. $100 million will go towards upgrading and expanding airports in regional areas.

Perhaps one of the most innovative announcements in this field is the freight data exchange pilot which both sides of government have committed to. This will give industry real time freight data and road usage which will be invaluable in determining where upgrades and improvements can be made.

Western Australia is Mentioned

Locals in WA may have noticed a few key infrastructure projects which are in the pipeline. These include:

  • An additional $348.5 million towards the Tonkin Highway
  • The $207.5 million removal of a level crossing on Oat St, Welshpool Road and Mint Street
  • A $140 million pledge to Albany Ring Road
  • $115 million for the Fremantle Traffic Bridge
  • A further $122 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road

The ROSI Initiative

Back in March a 3.5 billion investment was first mentioned as part of the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative. $492.3 million was for the Northern Territory, to upgrade their priority freight networks. Councils, communities and industry were all approached to identify which areas would benefit the most from investment.

The goal of this initiative is to increase infrastructure reliability and enhance the connections from the beginning to the end of the freight routes. For example – ports, roads, transport hubs, and airports. This is a good step towards boosting the economy and connecting those who live in remote areas of Australia with goods and essential services.

Keeping the Roads Safe

With our roads still used heavily for transport and travel, it makes sense to include strategies for road safety in any future planning. The Federal Government has confirmed $2.2 billion will be dedicated to a Road Safety and Upgrade Package. This includes initiatives for heavy vehicle safety, a black spot program and a national Office of Road Safety.

Investment in infrastructure is something industries like to see, but will this additional commitment be enough? While inland freight has been prioritised, there are a number of places that would have benefited from support being ignored. The election is just around the corner, and the result will determine the true future of Australia’s infrastructure.