The ability to get goods to supermarkets has been identified as a major obstacle in replenishing stocks as consumers increase their buying of essential household items.
During the week Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews met with stakeholders in Sydney to discuss the effects COVID-19 was having on supply chains as they come under increasing pressure.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) echoed statements from the Australian Retailers Association in which overnight deliveries prohibited by truck curfews restricted freight movements and kept shelves at retail outlets empty.
“The Australian community needs reassurance about the availability of essential day-to-day items, and the best way to provide that reassurance is to make certain products are available when consumers need them,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
According to Coningham, industry’s efforts to fulfil deliveries were being hampered by the operation of curfews on delivery vehicles imposed by local governments.
"These curfews prohibit deliveries between certain hours overnight and are preventing stock being available on shelves for consumers,” he said.
“Industry needs immediate practical support to address this situation, given the extraordinary challenge being faced. Economic stimulus is important – but we also urgently need an injection of common sense around some of the planning and enforcement provisions imposed on freight movement throughout the supply chain,” Coningham said.
“At the very least, local, state and federal governments need to work collaboratively and quickly to suspend curfews that restrict freight movement during the continuation of COVID-19 crisis, whether that is deliveries to retail premises, to homes, or the movement of freight to and from our ports, airports and other critical freight facilities."
Coningham added, "We would also request a halt to any enforcement activity associated with these curfews.”
“Helping industry to get grocery items and other goods to consumers more quickly will send a clear signal to consumers that stock is available. This will help to discourage panic-buying and support the logistics sector’s broader efforts to enhance the resilience of Australia’s supply chains,” he said.