BITRE (Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics) have released their Yearbook for 2017 which outlines a clear imbalance in the freight supply chain, which has been costing the country billions of dollars per year.
According to the document, Rail has grown 210% in terms of the domestic freight task, as well as Trucking growing consistently 61% over the last decade, while Coastal freight has decreased 1% since 2006.
It is predicted that by 2026, the national freight task will grow 26%, adding another 5m containers to our shorelines per annum.
This trend has become increasingly problematic, given the natural constraints of Road and Rail. Congestion, break-downs, land constraints, and the conflicting nature of freight and passenger movements have made these two modes difficult to maintain.
Given that all major cities in Australia allow cost-effective and efficient access to the Sea, and that Sea Freight can accommodate abundant capacities, there is little reason to ignore this mode as viable and necessary to decrease the burden of the freight task.
Last year the Australian government spent over $26 billion on the maintenance and creation of roads, with several billion budgeted similarly for rail, while Sea freight currently only handles 15% of freight movement.
Only when our supply chain embraces the flexibility of all major modes, will increasing infrastructure requirements decrease.