POLICY & ADVOCACY
Research commissioned by ALC shows very strong levels of community support for permanently locking-in changes made to curfews and other restrictions around freight movement in the wake of COVID-19.
The survey of 1,205 Australians was undertaken by Newgate Research in mid-June 2020 and shows:
- strong majority support for the permanent removal of curfews that prevent overnight deliveries into supermarkets and other retail premises (71 per cent support, and only 7 per cent opposed);
- Clear support for permitting essential logistics infrastructure including ports, warehouses to operate at night to facilitate more efficient freight movement (67 per cent support, with just 7 per cent opposed); and
- 78 per cent of respondents agreeing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made efficient deliveries to homes and businesses more important.
These results demonstrate strong public support for providing freight operators and retailers with the flexibility they need to keep our supply chains flowing.
This flexibility is needed so our industry can meet consumer preferences that have changed over recent months – including significant increases in demand for home delivery of household essentials.
These changes in consumer preferences make it more crucial than ever for logistics operators and their customers to efficiently schedule deliveries and use freight infrastructure outside standard hours to meet community expectations.
With more Australians returning to their workplaces and educational institutions, road congestion will be an increasing challenge as physical distancing requirements and continued concerns over transmission of COVID-19 make public transport a less attractive prospect.
Providing ongoing flexibility that allows freight operations to occur across the road network outside of peak times will help to alleviate some of these congestive pressures.
The research demonstrates the community understands this reality and is willing to support changes to regulations that will facilitate this flexibility, including the removal of bans on heavy vehicles accessing routes at particular times.
In many instances, curfews and operational restrictions date back to the 1980s, when the need to remain competitive in a 24/7 economy was not a major consideration.
Rigidly adhering to outdated regulations fails to recognise or incentivise take-up of new, quieter vehicle technologies – including electric vehicles – that allow freight tasks to be undertaken less intrusively.
These findings should give governments around Australia confidence that the community is prepared to support changes to regulations that will help make certain households and businesses have reliable access to the essential items they need.
NATIONAL FREIGHT AND SUPPLY CHAIN STRATEGY