NZ Transport Agency Freight Portfolio Director Harry Wilson reflects on what we have achieved during 2014 and looks ahead to 2015.
Here we are again, at the time of year where we think about beaches, BBQs and spending times with friends and family.
It’s also a time to reflect on what we’ve seen over the past year as we look ahead to 2015.
In delivering on the government’s objective of improving freight efficiency we’ve seen some solid progress against our short term priority of moving more freight on fewer trucks.
We’re working across a number of areas to make it easier for the freight industry to adopt high productivity motor vehicles (HPMV).
Travel by HPMVs as a proportion of all heavy vehicles continues to grow, which has been aided by our bridge-strengthening programme which has allowed us to open up more of our network. We now have over 2,000 kilometres of the High Productivity Freight Network open to HPMV including the entire upper North Island.
Driving this growth is 50MAX, with these 9-axled vehicles now travelling more than 30 million kilometres every quarter. A highlight this year was opening up the last remaining bridge on State Highway 1 to 50MAX, allowing these vehicles to travel from Cape Reinga to Bluff on our main highway. The slightly long ‘proforma’ HPMVs also continue to deliver improved freight efficiency, making up a significant number of kilometres travelled, while standard heavier HPMV trips are also increasing.
Overall, freight movements across the state highway network continue to increase, driven by growing economic activity and increased activity in support of the Christchurch rebuild.
So what will be doing in 2015 to support freight efficiency?
We’re looking at implementing changes to the Vehicle Dimension and Mass (VDAM) Rule to introduce a more balance scale of penalties for breaches of permit conditions. This addresses the anomaly which can lead to harsh penalties for minor infringements.
We are also looking at a wider VDAM reform as part of a joint project with the Ministry of Transport.
2015 will see the introduction of a centralised online permitting portal for HPMV, which will allow for more efficient and effective processing of applications for both operators and the Transport Agency.
We are looking at our next tranche of HPMV investment routes, to broaden access across our network and enable more efficient vehicles on more routes.
During this year we have enjoyed working in partnership with a range of people and organisations across the freight transport industry, and we look forward to building on these relationships in the year ahead.
Perhaps most importantly, I want to wish everyone a happy and relaxing festive season, best wishes for 2015, and stay safe on our roads.
Freight Portfolio Director
NZ Transport Agency