This year’s flooding has exposed how fragile and unsustainable some of Australia’s supply chains are. Road has steadily increased its share of domestic non-bulk trade. In the 1970s, road accounted for 65.5% and now that figure is 79.8%. Rail on the other hand transported 22.8% of domestic non-bulk in 1977, and now only accounts for 16.7%.
The reason for this seems to lie in a lack of investment. Trucks can now move freight between Sydney and Melbourne within 10 hours, while the alternative rail route takes at least 13 hours, plus the time taken to unload and deliver.
Technology and climate mitigation are driving a transformation in road freight. This shift will span value chains and impact business models, social conditions, and regulatory frameworks. Three developments are driving this: automation of vehicle control, digitalisation of logistics planning, and coordination and electrification of drivetrain.
£81 million in combined UK government and industry funding is being made available for commercial self-driving passenger and freight service.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com