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Operators need more incentives to run greener trucks, say peak bodies


Four state and territory trucking associations have joined forces to call on governments to incentivise trucking operators to “cost-effectively” transition to alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW), Western Roads Federation (WRF), NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA) and the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) say there must be greater support for industry, with low-emissions freight financing and other commercial incentives, to ensure that truck decarbonisation will be economically viable.

The call follows the release of a WRF-backed report by Samson Fu, a post-graduate logistics researcher at WA’s Curtin University, which investigated industry’s perspectives on achieving the effective and effective use of AFVs, and the role of governments in fostering the pathway to Net Zero 2050.

Fu said decarbonisation would be “challenging” for the industry but “essential, because a low and zero carbon future arrives soon”.

“To achieve the target set by the government, incentives and a clear roadmap from the government to foster the adoption of AFVs are crucial for logistics operators,” he said.

WRF CEO Cam Dumesny said it was imperative that governments consult with transport operators, as the transition to AFVs would need financial support as well as a raft of technological, system design and cultural changes across industry.

“Our governments need to ask transport fleet operators what initiatives are needed to foster the move to AFVs. The fact is, no one has ever asked them,” Dumesny said.

“The effective transition of our industry to alternative fuels will only occur when its commercially advantageous to do so.

“Fundamentally, transport fleet operators will buy AFVs when they can get a commercial advantage over using ICE. So, it is essential to know what our industry actually thinks are the barriers to AFV becoming a commercial advantage.”

The Australian Trucking Association and the Electric Vehicle Council released a 2022 report addressing the barriers to electric vehicle uptake in the trucking industry.

The report highlighted the higher upfront costs – an additional $200,000 in some cases – and the urgent need for federal subsidies.

But it appears that no one in Canberra has taken those recommendations on board.

There was plenty in the federal budget for those making the alternative fuels and its infrastructure, but no mention of a helping hand for those wishing to buy the greener trucks powered by those alternative fuels.

The only movement in this direction is this week’s release of a Net Zero Consultation Roadmap, calling for public feedback on the “most effective options for governments, business and the community, to reduce emissions in the transport sector by 2050”.

“We have set out important questions in the Consultation Roadmap and will work with stakeholders on identifying and implementing actions to reduce transport emissions in a way that works for Australia.

“With this new Consultation Roadmap acting as a guide, we are committed to creating a cleaner future that is economically responsible and socially inclusive, creates jobs, and ensures we have a future made in Australia.”

To have your say click here. Consultation closes on July 26, 2024.

Meanwhile, RFNSW CEO Simon O’Hara said the majority of the association members “simply couldn’t afford” to decarbonise their fleets.

“As an industry, we are committed to helping achieve Australia’s ambitious Net Zero target. But it’s just not viable for operators, given the current cost-of-living pressures, increased operational costs and the series of barriers they’re facing in switching to low emissions transport technologies,” O’Hara said.

“Governments must invest in a clean energy future, by providing targeted support in the form of freight-financing and direct incentives – our members have told us they’ll only be in a position to switch to AFVs, if they are commercially viable.”

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