Don’t box our cities in

Don’t box our cities in

Throughout ALC’s ongoing industry engagement on development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, one of the most consistent issues raised has been the increasingly difficulty of making deliveries in CBD areas.

This issue came into sharp focus this morning, when ALC presented at Online Retail Logistics 2017.

To put it bluntly, Australia’s cities are not freight-friendly. This is an inevitable consequence of planning systems that fail to properly account for freight movement.

Moreover, unless remedial action is taken, the problem is set to worsen.

Australia is already one of most highly urbanised countries in the world, and a significant proportion of the residential and employment growth projected to occur in the years ahead will be heavily concentrated in CBD areas.

It follows that the larger our cities grow, the larger the freight task gets. Accordingly, if we wish to grow our cities and ensure their continuing functionality and amenity, we must adopt policies which can support that increasing freight task.

Yet, the default instinct in many of our urban planning systems (not to mention many political representatives) is to adopt policies that impede urban freight delivery, especially in CBD areas, by limiting access for heavy vehicles.

A lack of adequate street loading zones, as well as new residential and commercial buildings with poor (or non-existent) freight delivery facilities are likewise making CBD delivery a more cumbersome and costly exercise.

Perversely, the growing difficulty of freight delivery in Australian cities is occurring during a period where growth in e-Commerce is fuelling expectations of faster delivery timeframes and lower shipping costs.

Freight Doesn’t Vote – ALC’s recent submission to the Discussion Paper on National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities – includes several suggestions from industry for dealing with the challenges of CBD freight delivery.

The movement of freight is essential to the everyday functionality of Australia’s cities. Unless we make the right policy changes now to facilitate greater efficiency in freight delivery, our cities – and the people who live and work in them – risk being boxed in.

You can read a summary of ALC’s recommendations around CBD freight delivery by clicking here.