In light of recent decisions made by the Northern Territory and Queensland Governments to restrict cross border travel, the essential nature of freight and supermarket resupply has been reinforced by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) as it called on local authorities to prioritise the movement of freight vehicles at state and territory border checkpoints.
ALC CEO Kirk Coningham said it was critical that border restrictions did not impact freight as he noted that even small delays were able to compound across the supply chain to prevent or significantly delay delivery.
“Those operating freight vehicles have rigorous restrictions around the number of hours they can work. Significant delays at border check points could end up producing delays of 24-hours or more in the movement of freight,” he said in a statement issued overnight.
“It is imperative that local authorities recognise the professionalism of freight vehicle operators, who will be well versed in social distancing requirements and compliance with other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Coningham.
"These are trained professionals with a critical task, and we would hope local authorities will recognise them as such.”
As an industry body, the ALC has been a proactive force in articulating to government and commercial industry in recent weeks the need to keep the supply chain moving amid aberrant buying behaviours seen across the retail sector ahead of government mandated shutdowns of business and social distances strategies.
Coningham said he was pleased that states and territories had all recognised the essential nature of the freight task by exempting freight and logistics from border closure arrangements.
“We now need states and territories to ensure that exemption is given practical effect, and make certain freight vehicles are not delayed for lengthy periods at border check points,” he said.
“We will be working with our members and industry to identify issues as they arise and look forward to working professionally and collegiately with local authorities to ensure we prevent the spread of COVID-19 without preventing the movement of freight.
“ALC is also grateful for the work of the Commonwealth at the ministerial and departmental level in promoting sensible and consistent policy across the states and territories in response to the freight impacts of COVID-19. We are particularly grateful to Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz and his team for their tireless assistance.”
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