Trucks are increasingly clogging up Melbourne’s roads and freeways. Is there a solution? Clay Lucas reports.
From 2001 to 2008, the Government promised a freight strategy to deal with the huge growth of truck movements, propelled by a booming population, declining manufacturing and increasing import levels. By 2007 things had gotten so bad that former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer noted, in a report for the Victorian Government, that there was ”no clear direction regarding an overall freight strategy”.
Logistics consultant Kim Hassall last year helped the Department of Transport finally put out its long overdue freight strategy, Freight Futures.
Ironically, the key solution Hassall and most in the freight industry have now embraced is bigger trucks – or ”monster trucks” as critics like to call them. The Government has opted for another name for the bigger model of trucks involved in its two-year ”trial”: high-performance freight vehicles.
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Voices have been raised in the State of Victoria lately as residents wait anxiously for some sign that truck numbers transiting to and from the coast are reducing.
The Governments original target, now supposedly abandoned, of 30% of all cargo to be carried by rail seems unrealistic. At the moment it is estimated that the figure is closer to 2%. The inception of the incredibly extensive Victoria Transport Plan is seen by many locals as long on promises but short on achievements.
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