Freight and Supply Chains
The freight and logistics industry is an essential component of the national economy, where the sector accounts for approximately 8.6 per cent of GDP. An efficient, sustainable and cost-effective freight and logistics industry enabled through partnerships with all levels of government supports Australia's growing economy and quality of life aspirations. Governments play a central role in the long-term planning, provision and management of transport networks that service Australia's growing freight task.
The Australian Government has committed to developing a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to increase the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight and supply chains. This Strategy will build on the outcomes of the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities which was led by an independent industry expert panel. The panel provided its final report to Government in March 2018.
Australia is connected to the global economy through shipping and air movements which transport bulk commodities and general cargo. Australia's major ports, airports and intermodal terminals make up the freight nodes linked by road, rail, air and coastal shipping as a freight transport system.
Click to access the national key freight routes map
The national key freight routes map provides a detailed picture of the road and rail routes connecting Australia's nationally significant places for freight, including ports, airports and intermodal terminals. The map provides a policy tool to inform strategic planning, operational and investment decisions across the Australian freight network.
Freight generated through domestic economic activity is predominately moved through the land transport network (road and rail) and coastal shipping. Over 75 per cent of non-bulk domestic freight is currently carried on roads.
Continuing growth in freight volumes has given rise to a range of increasingly complex challenges for the Australian community. In recognition of this all levels of government and industry have agreed on the need to apply a national focus and effort to deliver a streamlined, integrated and multimodal transport and logistics system, capable of efficiently moving freight through our international gateways and domestically.
Ensuring the efficiency of Australia's shipping industry, ports and the links to them—on both land and sea-sides—is of critical importance to the nation's economy. The Department works closely with the states and territories and industry to develop and implement initiatives aimed at unlocking the full potential of our ports and ensuring that these integral linkages in our transport network are strengthened. These initiatives include an emphasis on the long-term planning of port infrastructure, supply chain visibility and the mapping of key freight routes that connect the nationally significant places for freight.
Air freight makes up a small but important part of Australia's overall freight task and is predominantly used to transport high-value and time-critical good such as parcels and seafood. Airports have become a part of multi-modal transport hubs. As road and rail links to airports improve, airports with large areas of available adjacent land are able to capitalise and develop as national or regional freight nodes. This has been supported by the growth in air freight, where manufacturers of high value, low-density products trade-off the savings in inventory costs for costs of using air travel more frequently. The use of air freight as a means of transport is therefore on the increase.