Published by Bankwest as part of its Business Insights series, its ‘Industry Overview Report’ concludes that Australia’s road freight transport industry revenue will grow by 2.3 per cent per annum from $40.5 billion in 2015-16 to $47 billion in 2021-22.
The report identified a number of factors, internal and external to the industry, that are perceived to be driving this relatively modest forecast.
According to Sinead Taylor, Bankwest Executive General Manager for Business Banking, the report identified important drivers behind the industry’s successes. “It’s pleasing to see the small growth of the road freight transport industry, but what’s especially useful is when we’re able to see what’s driving that success,” she said.
One of the reasons for the growth centred on the price of diesel, which has been at its lowest levels since 2010-11 at 122.7 cents per litre on an average for the past almost 12 months, the report noted.
Taylor said the state of the road network was a concern for the industry, with road and port infrastructure being major external drivers of industry efficiency.
“Upgrades to cargo port facilities are currently underway in Sydney and Melbourne, and could add efficiency when completed. Additionally, the Federal Government has been encouraged to fast track a national freight supply chain to improve Australia’s freight capacity,” she said.
“Productivity gains in the industry have been minimal since the early 2000s and any future gains based on increasing load sizes may be limited by the current national road infrastructure.”
Beyond cost pressures, two of the key issues facing the road freight industry are a skills shortage and rising wages. This has largely been driven by regulation to ensure that drivers meet strict safety standards and an ageing workforce that is struggling to attract new and younger employees.