Congestion cause for concern for operators: VTA

The financial impacts of escalating congestion need to be factored into future contracts affecting the freight and logistics industry according to the Victorian Transport Association.

Costs in the form of higher fuel and maintenance charges and productivity losses from vehicles and drivers idling in traffic promised to cripple operators said VTA, CEO, Peter Anderson.

Increased congestion brought with it significant ramifications for operators, according to Anderson, with fatigue management and the recovery of higher travel costs to service customers being notable pressure points.

“Operators of vehicles greater than 12 tonne gross vehicle mass have a responsibility to manage the time their drivers spend behind the wheel so that it meets legal requirement. At the same time, customer expectations need to be met, which can be difficult to achieve in the face of unscheduled delays and supply chain pressures this can cause,” said Anderson.

“For operators, congestion has required a total re-think of how they address efficiently meeting the freight task because of the enormous disruption to vehicle scheduling it has created,” he said.

“The days of schedulers accurately forecasting travel times are long gone due to more vehicles being on the roads, delays from concurrent construction and infrastructure projects, and changes to work patterns that has thrown the traditional nine-to-five work day out the window.”

With the population growing at an unprecedented rate, peak traffic is now the norm rather than the exception said Anderson.

“Longer travel times caused by congestion translates to much higher operating costs and productivity losses for freight operators,” Anderson said.

“This is evident in the higher cost per kilometre operators are experiencing across their fleets, as well as reduced capacity to earn revenue from vehicles idling in traffic instead of moving and delivering freight.”

There are 51 major road projects within metropolitan Melbourne already impacting travel times and Anderson said congestion was increasing from these projects.

“Approximately 440 new drivers are licensed every week in Victoria, and with 2800 people moving here every week, pressure on the network has nowhere to go but up,” said Anderson.

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