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Prime Mover Magazine

Regional centres leading the way in decentralising logistics

The opening of the second Great Dividing Range crossing scheduled for later in the year along with the Cathay Pacific 747 freight service from Hong Kong at Wellcamp Airport has placed Toowoomba in Queensland at the forefront of decentralised logistics according to Bill Gillespie, Hino Australia General Manager of Brand and Franchise Development.

Discussing the theme of decentralised logistics as part of a recent media tour, Gillespie pointed to the practice of fresh produce being exported once a week overseas from Toowoomba over the last 18 months and the subsequent reciprocation of importers seeking to find alternatives to the expenses of using capital city airports.

“That’s a really amazing occurrence now, who would have thought that Toowoomba would have been a place where goods would be exported in that manner?” said Gillespie.

“But that’s what the pressure of this time frame has meant to people, they can’t even wait for the goods to be shipped from the provincial centre to the metropolitan area.”

Opportunities were being created in regional Australia where people are attending universities but often moving on to capital cities to find employment according to Gillespie.

He cited Parkes, Toowoomba, Bathurst, Albury-Wodonga and Wagga Wagga as regional areas likely to become crucial links in the supply chain as growth in regional distribution centres was sustained.

The shift was already being reflected in the buying habits of customers he suggested.

“What you are seeing is that people are starting to move more goods in one delivery, so you are seeing much bigger trucks in regional Australia,” said Gillespie.

“That puts its own special challenges on the government with regards to the infrastructure, because the current road system can’t cope with what is required from it.”

“People are now crying out for improvements, and of course the question is how to connect that up to the rail system and the ports, as people are now using coastal shipping.”

“From Hino Australia’s point of view looking forward, we need to look at the mix between heavy duty, as I think everyone this year has seen a big shift in the so-called ‘class-A’ trucks, and that is being driven by some of this new work that is required.”

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