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Freight operators warned of Amazon and Uber disruption

Platform providers such as Amazon and Uber Freight will threaten significant disruption in road freight markets attendees recently heard at the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation NSW Branch Annual Conference and Dinner.

Those in attendance of the inaugural event were warned by delegates that platform providers were expected to take a ground zero approach to local industries as they looked to exert greater influence in the future.

Speaking at the event, newly appointed NSW Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy, Daniel Mookhey, raised concerns about the current and emerging role of these providers in the industry.

Calling for a level playing field, Mookhey said competitive neutrality was required to reduce the dominance of these businesses in the markets with which they operate.

He noted urgent reform to arrangements related to the engagement of gig workers would ensure they were adequately protected under law.

Uber Freight last week announced it was expanding its operations to Europe.

ARTIO NSW Secretary/Treasurer Hugh McMaster said multinational companies in a rapidly changing world were setting out to further disrupt established commercial and operational arrangements in the industry.

“These companies are further raising consumer expectations that the goods they order will arrive almost instantaneously," he said.

“They expect an already stretched industry to meet those expectations," said McMaster.

“It is 40 years since Razorback and, in that time, industry has not shown the will to do the necessary work to develop an enduring policy framework which addresses its economic challenges."

“We need to ensure all road freight businesses have a level of regulatory support which ensures failures in the operation of Australian freight markets are addressed so that well-run business can aspire to making a reasonable return over the medium to long run while at the same time allowing for poorly run businesses to fail."

Attendees were told that a "tsunami" was coming as these giant platform providers were prepared to loss lead in order to gain a foothold in global freight markets.

Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety, Glenn Sterle, spoke of the importance of industry engagement to address the industry’s long established and emerging challenges.

McMaster agreed.

“Perhaps with Amazon and Uber Freight rapidly expanding their global tentacles, and threatening more widespread and more significant disruption on the operation of freight markets, industry leaders will realise the increasingly important need to work together in anticipation of their arrival,” he said.

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