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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:

  • Updates from NTI’s involvement with the Australian Government’s Land Transport Industry Meeting to advocate on behalf of transport and logistics operators
  • The Australian Government’s new load scheme for struggling export businesses
  • The NSW Government’s new Accelerated Infrastructure Fund to boost construction jobs during the pandemic
  • An update from Meat & Livestock Australia on opportunities for red meat exports to China
  • Details on the shipping container crisis in Victoria
  • The Australian Trucking Association’s submission to the Federal Treasurer for changes to the JobKeeper program

Transport:

  • NTI’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Chris Hogarty, again participated in the Australian Government’s Land Transport Industry weekly meeting.  This week, the group discussed its development of an Industry Information Pack, which will be released in the near future, as well as revising medical requirements for drivers to lessen the burden on GPs.  We will continue to keep you updated as these initiatives progress.
  • Our partners at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) have made a submission to Federal Treasurer about the impact of the 30% decline in turnover test in the Government’s JobKeeper program.  The submission outlines how, due to the tight margins within trucking operations and turnover requirements to make finance payments on vehicles, many businesses would fold when their turnover declined by 15% or less.  We will keep you informed on how this progresses. 
  • The South Australian Police have warned that family members (or other persons) who are passengers in a truck are not exempt from the South Australian border controls unless they are essential travellers. South Australia defines essential travellers to include persons who, in the conduct of their duties, provide transport or freight services into, within and out of South Australia and are required to be physically present in South Australia.
  • Tighter travel restrictions in Tasmania are now in place, following an announcement over last weekend. Our partners at the Tasmanian Transport Association have confirmed with the Tasmanian government that transport, freight and logistics are deemed essential services and businesses, and can continue to operate.

Marine and Cargo:

  • Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have released findings from a survey of 800 affluent Chinese consumers which found that lockdown measures have resulted in stronger demand for Australian red meat – particularly beef.  The study found that consumers were being lead by their perceptions of Australian quality and safety during the pandemic, and that they intend to continue purchasing increased amounts of Australian red meat following the crisis.  Read more here.
  • Australian exporters struggling to secure loans have been given a $500M lifeline by the federal government to help re-establish markets and expand operations impacted by COVID-19.  The initiative will help Australia be one of the first countries getting products back into China as it leaves lockdown.  Loans of between $250,000 and $50M will be run through a capital facility administered by Export Finance Australia.  Read more here.
  • Shipping Australia Limited is calling the Federal Government to subsidise shipping costs, and for ports and service providers to provide discounts or defer annual increases, to ensure the future of Australian shipping services.  There is already more idle container ship capacity than there was during the Global Financial Crisis, and things are expected to worsen before they start improving.  Read more here.
  • Victoria is facing a shipping container crisis, as warehouses and container parks overflow with goods that have been shipped from overseas, but cannot be sold due to COVID-19 shutdowns.  The Port of Melbourne is urgently searching for back-up sites to store shipping containers, with at least two export container parks already full.  Suppliers are now asking transport operators to store shipping containers in their yards for prolonged periods, but this is unsustainable.  Read more here.

Construction:

  • The NSW Government has announced a new Accelerated Infrastructure Fund which will provide $70 million to support the delivery of community infrastructure in high growth areas North West Sydney.  This includes funding for councils to deliver local roads, public open space, stormwater infrastructure and community facilities, and develop plans for new homes and employment land.  The is designed to cut red tape and fast-track planning processes to keep people in jobs and the construction industry moving throughout the COVID-19 crisis.  Read more here.
  • Safe Work Australia has released a guide for the Building and Construction industries on how to minimise the risk of COVID-19 on site.  It includes suggested processes for physical distancing, employee health checks and quarantine, and worker hygiene.  Download a copy here.