Freight productivity can help ease cost of living pressures, says WA peak body

All three levels of government – federal, state and local – must engage with the transport industry to help relieve cost of living pressures on West Australians.

That’s the message from the state’s peak trucking body, the Western Roads Federation (WRF), as surging fuel prices, a key factor in the latest consumer price index (CPI) report, continue to drive up the cost of freight.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Wednesday revealed automotive fuels had increased close to 14 per cent in the 12 months to August, driving the monthly CPI indicator up to 5.2 per cent.

Although fuel prices are cyclic the trend line over the last three years is highly concerning, with average trend line prices up over 50 per cent since May 2020, said Dumesny.

While the industry is supportive of the move to clean energy fuels this transition is not realistic in any substantive volume in the short term to make a difference, he added

“I don’t think governments realise the critical nature of the freight industry in underpinning the WA economy,” Dumesny said.

“Governments can help mitigate the rising freight costs by focusing on freight productivity. The industry has identified numerous relatively simple and easy to implement solutions that can help reduce freight costs and so cost of living pressures.

“We know it works. For example, in one instance co-operation with the WA government led to fresh produce being delivered into and out of WA with an extra day’s shelf life, meaning less waste and lower produce costs.”

He believes that local governments, particularly in Perth, also have a role to play.

“Preliminary analysis by a leading AI company of data supplied by the industry has shown local government decisions are reducing local delivery efficiency by as much as 20 per cent.

“That means residents are paying more. Federally, the government must take a lead on addressing trans-national freight efficiency across all modes, not just road.

Dumesny said that the industry is offering to work with governments to collaborate on freight efficiency measures that will:

  • Help play a part in reducing cost of living pressures
  • Reduce pressure on drivers and our industry; and
  • Actually, help reduce both emissions and congestion.

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