Improved freight management in sight for NSW fleets

Any fleet manager who runs a freight operation in regional NSW will be well aware of the unique challenges the area poses.

Inadequate road infrastructure only capable of handling limited volumes of freight vehicles, for example, have traditionally been a drag on fleet productivity. This has led to fleet managers reporting inefficiencies in fleet management, such as soaring operational costs and the need to make excess trips.

However, a new initiative from the NSW government is set to vastly improve the state's freight industry. Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay recently announced the release of the inaugural Freight and Ports Strategy, which has the purpose of accommodating the increased freight volumes in years to come.

"With the volume of freight on our transport network forecast to nearly double over the next 20 years to 800 million tonnes each year, the NSW Freight and Ports Strategy is a critical long-term road map which puts NSW on the front foot to meet the task ahead," Mr Gay said in a December 7 media release.

The strategy will be complemented by the state's Fixing Country Roads program, which sets out to improve local road works in a bid to enhance freight connectivity. According to Mr Gay, the government recently dedicated funds to "kick start" the program.

One of the main issues identified by the program was the limited access to the Red Bend silos, a critical terminal for the region's grain industry. At the moment, only small combinations of heavy vehicles can travel on the Newell Highway which leads to the silos, creating a hindrance on freight productivity.

Mr Gay explained that the freight industry plays a pivotal role in the local economy, contributing around $58 billion every year.

"With an efficient and effective freight network underpinning the strength of our exports and reducing the costs of everyday goods and services, the strategy will ensure that freight is at the forefront of our economy," he said.