The Victorian Government has been warned that its decision to reinstate delivery curfews following its rollback of COVID-19 lockdowns will worsen an already choked supply chain in the run to Christmas.
An order waiving curfews that applied across all of Victoria expired on 5 November, while the Queensland Government reinstated its own delivery curfews in May.
Bottlenecks on the waterfront, industrial action, restrictions on inbound air mail and pandemic-related labour shortages were all creating a ‘perfect storm’ that was placing severe stress on the supply chain according to the National Road Transport Association.
Of the larger jurisdictions, New South Wales remains the outlier having extended its curfews until March next year through persistent lobbying by NatRoad.
As a result it was giving the State Government time to research the case for a possible permanent lifting of curfews in NSW according to NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
“A 24/7 delivery schedule allows heavy vehicle drivers to make deliveries outside of peak hour times when the roads are less crowded,” said Clark.
“Trucks kept the country moving throughout the pandemic but it’s not just about heavy vehicles,” he said.
“Greater delivery flexibility benefits all road users by smoothing peaks and easing congestion.
Curfews, as Clark sees it, impact safety given limited delivery timeslots can interfere with truck drivers’ ability to manage fatigue.
“We are still recovering from a global pandemic and transport regulators should recognise that,” concluded Clark.