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Chairman of the industry representative body Freight On Rail Group, Dean Dalla Valle is calling on the general public to become advocates for rail freight infrastructure.
Mr Dalla Valle, also chief executive officer of private rail operator Pacific National, told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Sydney today the growing freight task required a swift and significant response.
Mr Dalla Valle noted Australia’s population is expected to double by 2075, while the national freight task grows even quicker, tripling by 2050.
“A phrase I’ve often heard since joining the industry is ‘freight doesn’t vote’, Mr Dalla Vale said.
“We must better mobilise our customers – they must become our strongest allies and advocates throughout the community.
“Anyone who has experienced the wrath of a regional exporter facing delays and disruptions in hauling produce from paddock to port understands my point.”
Mr Dalla Vale said the majority of poulation, and freight demand, would cenre on capital cities.
“We need to seriously ask ourselves if this share of road freight is sustainable?
“Likewise, where are the best locations for intermodal freight hubs in our cities to help seamlessly move freight from road to rail and then to port? If we get these drivers right, we can help reduce disruptions like severe traffic congestion in our major cities.
Mr Dalla Valle said excluding bulk commodities such as iron ore and coal road transport dominates the mix of freight movements.
“Trucks will always dominate ‘last mile’ trips to distribution centres and supermarkets, but as a country we need to do better to shift freight to rail over longer distances. I believe this is a disruption we must have,” he said.
“For example, the road freight task between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane is forecast to reach around 140 billion tonne kilometres by 2030. Up from around 60 billion tonne kilometres.
“Our major motorways and highways are at risk of becoming a conveyor belt of trucks.”
This article first appeared on www.theland.com.au
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