Trucks today and beyond

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Truck Industry Council to congratulate the organisers of the second Melbourne International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show for a most successful industry exposition.

Rescheduling the event to March obviously works well for the industry, exhibitors and most importantly the general public. It was pleasing to see the public’s support in numbers slightly higher than the 2008 Expo and the more than 350 exhibitors showcasing their products and services. Such demonstrations and the Melbourne Show in particular are significant reminders of the industry’s importance and capability. Truck manufacturers and major component suppliers who make up the Truck Industry Council’s membership heralded the event as a major opportunity to market the Council’s core message: that trucks built and sold today in 2010 are safer and greener for the essential role of carrying the nation’s growing freight task. The technologies that make today’s trucks safer and greener were on show by all manufacturers. It was obvious to me that both the public and operator alike saw the Show as an opportunity to learn more about the significant advances truck manufacturers are making to ensure the environment in which we all live is cleaner and greener and that the road space we all share is safer.

The Melbourne truck show is now well and truly a fixed item on the industry’s calendar and has demonstrated again its commitment to the industry and to the messages that we as a Council need to be able to communicate to our various audiences.

One of those audiences is obviously Government. The Truck Industry Council, since its inception, has enjoyed a sound working relationship with the various State and Federal Governments and their respective departments. This relationship is again evident with the Council being asked to be a member of the NSW Government’s Road Freight Advisory Council’s Urban Freight Sub-Committee.

The Truck Industry Council has long held a keen interest in the urban freight issues facing the nation’s major cities. Readers of Prime Mover Magazine will recall that the Council held a Moving Urban Freight Symposium in October 2008. This symposium addressed the challenges and opportunities an expanding urban freight task brings to our day to day living, be it our home and social lives or business activities.

Urban freight accounts for about three quarters of all freight movements and is increasing rapidly with forecasts by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics suggesting an increase of 80 percent to the year 2020. The nation’s standard of living is dependent upon an effective distribution channel. Trucks are the principal mode of transport for the distribution of goods across this country and within our cities and communities. We are all well aware of the predictions for the broader transport task. The national total freight task will double over the next 15 years. The impacts of this growth will be particularly felt in our cities where the use of road for freight will continue to dominate. Associated with these impacts is the prediction that high growth (40 percent increase to 2020) is also expected in passenger vehicle traffic.

It is within this context that the Truck Industry Council sees the decision by the NSW Government to investigate urban freight issues as a positive step forward in what is understood to be a difficult policy issue for State and Local Governments given the competing needs of the public, operators and suppliers such as supermarkets. Involving truck manufacturers in this policy development process will ensure that Governments become more aware of the capability of today’s trucks. For urban application, not only are the 2010 trucks safer and greener, but they are also much quieter than the majority of trucks on urban roads today.

The result will be better public policy.

Phil Taylor

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