The size of the Australian continent, geographically dispersed population base and importance of major commodities to Australia’s economic output means that freight transport sector performance has a significant influence on national productivity and efficiency. Improvements in freight productivity and efficiency reduce the cost of moving freight, adding directly to the national economic output.
The Australian freight task has quadrupled over the last four decades. This has coincided with significant improvements in freight sector productivity, most especially in road freight where physical freight vehicle productivity has increased more than twice over the same period.
Total domestic road freight has grown six-fold over the last four decades.Productivity growth of heavy freight vehicles that is, rigid and articulated trucks, has been even more pronounced; increasing almost six-fold since 1971. Articulated trucks alone have contributed over 90% increase in total road freight vehicle productivity. The principal factors contributing to increased heavy vehicle productivity include:
● the introduction of and expanded network access for larger heavy vehicle combinations, particularly B-double articulated trucks.
●progressive increases in regulated heavy vehicle mass and dimension limits.
● strong growth in long-distance freight.
● cumulative long-term investment in major road infrastructure particularly the realignment and duplication of parts of the inter-capital national highway network.
With the Australian road freight task projected to nearly double between 2010 and 2030, slower future freight productivity growth implies significant increases in the number of heavy vehicles and drivers to meet the projected future freight task.
Australian freight task is expected to see double-digit growth over the next decade. NTC Chief Executive, Paul Retter, has predicted the growth rate of 26% over the next decade which is likely be split across the country’s three modes of freight transport, wherein half is moved on the rail, 30.4% travel by road, and 14% by sea. With nearly a third of all of Australia’s freight carried on the back of a truck, Paul says the road transport industry generated around $48.3 billion in revenue in 2014 alone. By providing data that shows just how much of the task will take to the roads, he tells us of the good news of the economic growth in the Australian truckload transport industry.