With no end in sight to pandemic delivery curfews under pressure for extension

Temporary suspension of delivery curfews will be a thing of the past if the Australian Logistics Council has its way.

The transport and supply chain industry body is pushing Commonwealth, state and territory governments to lift curfews Australia-wide to allow freight to move freely to meet ongoing extraordinary levels of consumer demand.

At present modern customer expectations weren’t being accommodated by a system that was neither balanced nor agile enough to harness the advantages offered by modern vehicle technology.

Following concerted efforts by ALC and others in March 2020, local jurisdiction delivery curfews were temporarily lifted to allow the 24/7 delivery of essential supplies.

Now, with states reinstating border closures and inner-city lockdowns due to the latest hotspots, the need for 24/7 freight delivery is once again being called for by ALC, with the view that curfews should be removed permanently.

Research commissioned in 2020 by ALC showed over 70 per cent of respondents supported permanently removing curfews on overnight deliveries and strong majority support for the removal of other operational restrictions, including bans on heavy vehicle access along certain routes, port operations and airport noise curfews.

“ALC has long advocated for the removal of such blanket restrictions, many of which date from the 1980s – an era of different considerations,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.

“Inflexible regulations like curfews do nothing to recognise or incentivise take-up of new and emerging vehicle technologies that can be deployed to undertake freight tasks less intrusively,” he said.

Coningham again quoted Prime Minister Scott Morrison who noted, upon the removal of curfews in March, that ‘the sun came up the next day.’

“Clearly, greater flexibility can work, so let’s work towards a more balanced system,” he said.

By abolilshing curfews logistics operators and their customers, under such an arrangement, will have a greater capacity to minimise their impact on other road users.

Simply defaulting to blanket restrictions designed for a pre-pandemic world would be a retrograde policy response according to Coningham.

Currently curfew removals have been extended for the for most of the first quarter in all states with the exception for Victoria who have partially reinstated pre-covid curfews to state owned roads.

ALC will continue to work closely with individual jurisdictions to ensure the free movement of freight during this time.