A lengthy workshop on transport infrastructure resilience was attended by Shipping Australia chief executive officer Rod Nairn.
Unfortunately, Shipping Australia must express the concern that infrastructure planners appear to have developed “ocean-blindness” as they do not take into account maritime transport options as an alternative to duplicating costly-to-build and costly-to-maintain landside transport infrastructure.
For instance, instead of only considering building extensive costly flood-proof roads across vast remote areas to connect coastal communities, a shorter flood-proof road to a roll-on roll-off port facility could also be considered as a potentially viable alternative.
More extensive use of maritime transport shipping, particularly coastal shipping, would also reduce risk the of spreading COVID-19.
Consider, there are 15,000 interstate trucks that drive across the NSW-VIC-SA borders day and night. And that’s just one way.
Bear in mind there are one or two truck drivers per truck. That’s, potentially, an awful lot of opportunities to spread COVID-19.
Coastal shipping would have taken a lot of those trucks off the road, thereby reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
A fall in truck volumes would also reduce the volume of carbon dioxide emissions into the air, reduce the emissions of other gases that are harmful to human health and reduce the risks of truck-related accidents, deaths and personal injury.
Unfortunately, the ability to carry out efficient coastal shipping is prohibited by law.
Coastal shipping reform is beneficial, essential… and long overdue.