As the major independent statutory organisation responsible for achieving transport policy objectives – including road transport reform, the National Transport Commission (NTC) is looking at some different approaches to reducing urban road congestions issues and improving Australia’s road safety. One of these approaches could also have a major impact on productivity. The NTC is asking Australia’s transport industry the question: Is it possible to increase heavy vehicle volumetric load capacity without increasing mass limits? And, if so, will that increase productivity?
Maximising all available freight transport space
In a press release issued by the NTC last month, Chief Executive, Paul Retter, said the current laws may hold back people transporting low weight freight back, but an increase in the maximum volumetric load-carrying capacity may not require a corresponding increase in the permitted mass of the vehicle when carrying low density freight.
Examples include palletised mixed freight, whitegoods, groceries and cars, where varying shapes tend to create gaps in the load, reducing their overall density.
“We are interested in hearing from Australia’s transport industry whether reforms to these laws would provide a worthwhile productivity boost,” Mr Retter said.
“Historically, Australia has enjoyed some success in increasing productivity through increases in heavy vehicle mass but the scope for further increases has narrowed over time, and we are keen to begin a discussion with governments and industry on other ways to lift productivity.”
“If we increased the maximum volume a heavy vehicle can carry, fewer trips would be needed, potentially resulting in less heavy vehicle traffic and congestion, better road safety outcomes and lower levels of transport emissions,” Retter said.
Benefits beyond boosting productivity
If reforms such as these were to go ahead, the benefits would extend beyond the potential boost to productivity – there would also be positive outcomes for other road users and the environment.
The NTC has acknowledged that there are potential issues and costs involved in changing the current laws, which is why they’re currently seeking submissions from all within the transport industry.
Submissions to the ‘Increasing heavy vehicle volumetric load capacity without increasing mass limits’ issues paper can be made on the NTC website up until 5pm Friday, 26 September 2016.
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