January 21, 2021

Record Christmas rush, HVSI funding and COVID-19 vaccine logistics

The freight industry hit new records in December, ending an unpredictable year on a high. Here’s our round up of December’s freight news.

Record Christmas rush, HVSI funding & COVID-19 vaccine logistics

Record freight volumes for the holiday season

The Black Friday weekend sales marked the start of the busy holiday season for freight. Industry experts predicted a spend between $3-$5 billion on the sales from consumers this year, driving significant freight volumes across Australia.

This increased consumer spending continued into December, with Australia Post delivering more than 52 million parcels over the month. This represents an increase of almost 20% from December 2019 and made it the company’s biggest month ever. While December is traditionally a busy month for freight due to Christmas, the combined impacts of COVID-19, a 40% annual increase in online shopping, and congestion at the ports, made December 2020 one of the busiest yet.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Following the excitement of the first approved vaccine for coronavirus came an extremely complex plan for its distribution. Australia has secured 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 10 million of Pfizer’s. While both vaccines will require logistical consideration, Pfizer’s vaccine presents a challenge. The AstraZeneca vaccine must be refrigerated and kept between 2 and 7.7 degree Celsius, a standard range for frozen freight. Pfizer’s, however, must be kept below -70 degrees Celsius.

The vaccines will need to be distributed from manufacturing plants in Europe and the United States all the way to, and then across Australia, while being kept at these temperatures. This will require substantial cold storage planning and logistics, and will represent one of the biggest logistics efforts worldwide since WWII.

New funding for the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative

A record $5.5 million funding for Round 6 of the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) launched late last year. This initiative funds programs that foster tangible improvements to road safety. Over the past five years it has provided $22.8 million for 89 grants, with recent projects including CoR and safety training programs for industry stakeholders, health programs for truck drivers, and heavy vehicle training simulators.

The projects for this round must align with National Road Safety Strategy and are recommended to address one of three main themes: safer drivers, safer vehicles, and safer road use.

ABS Vehicle Use Data

The 2020 bushfires and COVID-19 caused a steep decline in the number of kilometres travelled by Australian passenger vehicles across last year. Despite this, road freight continued to grow, with more than 223 billion tonne-kilometres driven by Australia’s 4 million freight vehicles across the country.

Ofload is a digital freight platform that aims to empower the long tail of small carriers to access large shipper contracts through technology. Our focus is eliminating waste across all aspects of the freight industry through prioritising transparency and efficiency.

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