Trucking Industry Continues to Grow Despite High Fuel Prices: Here is Why

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Australia’s railway systems are starting to deteriorate, giving the spotlight to the trucking industry to handle cargo despite higher carbon emissions and fuel prices.

The surging trucks on the country’s highways have brought many safety and health issues, including road accidents and pollution. Trucks are reported to be responsible for the country’s 4 per cent carbon emission. However, regardless of the adverse effects of patronising truckings as freight means, companies are still determined to consider this a central part of their logistics.

The significant reason behind this trend is the poor railways of Australia that are currently undergoing the wear-and-tear process and need more maintenance checks. Notably, only 2 per cent of transport between Sydney and Melbourne is carried by trains.

After decades of significant investment in major motorways, Marion Terrill, director of the Grattan Institute‘s transport and cities program, claimed that rail had lost its competitiveness as a freight option.

“One thing that’s happened in the past 30 years is there’s been a lot of upgrades to the highways, particularly the Hume, the Bruce, and the Pacific, have had a massive amount of money ploughed into them into the 80s and 90s and they’re now really good roads. Some used to be single carriageways in parts, and overtaking wasn’t great,” she said.

“Nothing like that kind of investment in roads has happened for rail in recent decades.”

“Rail is good for bulk commodities, and it is cheaper to transport per kilometre,” she said. “But you do have the handling at either end; the first and last miles are almost always by truck, so everything that comes by rail will end up on a truck, and there are costs associated with double handling.”

According to Beyond Zero Emissions researcher Rowan Moorey, trains are more effective at transporting cargo, and generally speaking, it is sad that Australia carries so much freight via emissions-intensive transit.

Moorey’s research says electrifying trains and trucks will be essential to cutting back on freight emissions. According to one estimate, electrifying 600 km of track annually for five years would rapidly decarbonize this sort of transit and create 15,000 construction employees.

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