Late last month the NRC Transport & Logistics Advisory Group had its first meeting of 2023 and top of the agenda was industry response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. Having Simon Bridges chairing the Advisory Group gave us a head start, with his insights as the former Minister of Transport bringing a unique perspective on how to get government to set the rebuilding and resilience of our critical highways as the number one priority. This led to our calls in media to urgently repair the top 5 roads and provide greater focus on network resilience.
Regular readers of my Transport Minute will be familiar with repeated calls for a long-term roading infrastructure plan. It may have taken a cyclone, but it was pleasing this week to see reality acknowledged and the government shift away from emissions reductions as the top transport priority and an acceptance that reconstruction of the network plus a need to incorporate more resilience are now at the top of the list.
The Advisory Group was also delighted to welcome Mike Horne, CEO of Fullers Group Ltd onboard. Mike is very much leading the way when it come to sustainability innovations on the water. He took us through how electric, hybrid and hydrogen-powered ferries may come together alongside more efficient diesel engines to serve Aucklander’s transport needs, and how some of these advances are starting to take shape following significant cash injections from Government last year. How hydrogen network infrastructure is solved for maritime will impact road transport, so it was great to be able to get some insights from Mike as to how this is developing.
Lastly, you will have all seen the media coverage of the unfortunate truck fire on Auckland’s Southern Motorway this week. We know, within the industry, how strong regulation is in relation to the transport of hazardous goods. These robust processes ensure drivers, customers, other road users and the public are kept safe. But this awareness is not common outside of the industry, or with the public.
I just wanted to draw your attention to the interview James did yesterday on Radio NZ on this topic because a big part of what we do happens behind the scenes, and sometimes publicly. Educating the media and the public on the facts is an ongoing task. James did a great job speaking to RNZ highlighting that most supermarket deliveries likely carry a range of items that are classed as hazardous substances. It is impractical to suggest trucks should be further restricted on the back of an isolated incident. If you have time, I suggest you listen to James’ Radio NZ interview – he explains some key facts and puts context around a relatively rare incident.
Stay safe and have a great weekend.
National Road Carriers Assn
Supporting those who choose to make a living in the Road Transport Industry since 1936