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Weekly COVID-19 Update: Everything vessels, vehicles and gear

During these unprecedented times, we’re giving you weekly updates on how COVID-19 is impacting everything to do with vessels, vehicles and gear.

In this week’s edition we outline:

  • The latest data on serious truck accidents from NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre
  • Warnings of increased truck travel times in Sydney due to restricted patronage on public transport;
  • The kick-off of the Victorian Government’s $2.8 billion Building Works package to create jobs in construction and trades;
  • Expected impacts to Australian cattle and beef due to the ‘wall of meat’ building in the United States;
  • The latest stats on how COVID-19 is impacting the Port of Melbourne; and
  • Almost $5 million in Federal Government funding for Export Hubs.

Transport

  • NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) has released its latest report into major truck accidents.  The study, which analysed data from serious truck accidents in 2019, found there were almost 100 more serious incidents compared with two years prior, and the number of truck drivers who died last year was 2.5 times higher than in 2017.  The report is being endorsed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), the Australian Truck Association (ATA), the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA) and more as essential reading for transport operators.  Read more.
  • David Smith, the managing director of South Australia-based D&S Smith Haulage has become the newly elected chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).  Smith was voted in at the organisation’s annual general meeting last Wednesday.  The election follows the retirement of Geoff Crouch, who remains a member of the ATA board and its council.  Read more.
  • With Sydney’s road use set to increase as COVID-19 restrictions are wound back, the state faces a traffic spike due to measure yet to be lifted.  The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation NSW (ARTIO NSW) has warned that the NSW government’s decision to substantially limit public transport patronage is expected to lead to a rapid escalation in congestion on the road network within Sydney and surrounding regions.  This means average truck travel times across Sydney are expected to rise.  Read more.

Marine and Cargo

  • Kennedys Law has released a blog on unclaimed cargo resulting from COVID-19 clogging the supply chain.  It comes on the back of many ports, warehouses and forwarders’ premises around the world experiencing a build-up of unclaimed or unwanted cargo.  Read more.
  • Independent meat and livestock analyst Simon Quilty has warned of a ‘wall of meat’ building in the United States which will inevitably impact pricing for Australian cattle and beef early next year.  The problem stems from the enormous back-log of cattle that has built up in the US beef industry since COVID-19 forced meat packing plant closures and created an alarming building of ‘unprocessed’ cattle in the system.  Mr Quilty says recent weeks had seen US cattle slaughterings down by up to 40% on normal production for this time of year.  Read more.
  • The Port of Melbourne has released statistics on the COVID-19 traffic impact showing a significant hit.  The report outlines that total monthly container volumes (full and empty) are down by 11.3% and there have been double the number of ship cancellations (vessel blankings) than the same period last year.  Read more.
  • The Federal Government has announced 10 export hubs from five states will receive more than $4.9 million under the SME Export Hubs Initiative and include industries where Australia has large growth potential, including food and agribusiness, energy and mining services.  The initiative provides each successful hub with matched funding of up to $1.5 million for projects up to two years in length.  Read more.

Construction and Equipment

  • The Victorian Government has announced the first part of its Building Works package worth $2.8 billion to kick-start shovel-ready construction projects.  The package is anticipated to create 3700 direct jobs in the industry for construction workers and trades, while also created several thousand more jobs in associated industries such as manufacturing, logistics and transport.  The package includes $1.18 billion specifically for education infrastructure projects such as the construction of ten new schools across Victoria.  Read more.
  • The NSW Government has introduced legislative changes with the goal of making it easier for councils to unlock local infrastructure contribution funds to support jobs.  The changes will enable councils to pool funds across contribution plans, allowing them to bring forward planned projects that may not have received all of the funds yet – with the aim of increasing local job opportunities.  Read more.