ABS data explains road freight task

More detail added to new survey methodology for work performed nationally by articulated and rigid trucks

ABS data explains road freight task
The ABS has more information on what the industry does.


The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which last year made its previous heavy-vehicle road-freight data redundant, has updated its Road Freight Movements Survey for the 12 months ended October 31, 2014.

On top of the basic figures supplied in its snapshot last October, the ABS has now released individual state and territory road freight movement summaries along with detailed thematic maps of the country identifying regional freight hotspots.

The bureau continues to warn against direct comparisons with previous surveys as these are the first results produced using a new survey methodology.

"The methodology was developed to improve upon previous efforts by the ABS to collect and compile accurate statistics on the movement of freight by road in Australia," the federal body says.

It adds that the new data set gleaned from Commonwealth, state and territory transport departments "will assist in the development of transport policies and the efficient allocation of related resources".

The statistics show that for the surveyed period 2.13 billion tonnes of freight was moved an estimated 195.62 billion tonne-kilometres.

Of the total tonne-kilometres travelled, the highest proportion, 25.9 per cent (50.63 billion), originated in New South Wales, followed by Queensland 22.8 per cent (44.66 billion), Victoria 20.2 per cent (39.61 billion) and Western Australia 18.2 per cent (35.62 billion).

The proportions of tonnes carried from these four states were similar to the proportions noted for tonne-kilometres travelled, with freight originating from NSW representing 25.3 per cent (539 million) of the total tonnes carried, Queensland 23.4 per cent (500 million), Victoria 22.5 per cent (480 million) and Western Australia 17.5 per cent (374 million).

The intrastate measure of the total was 68 per cent (133 billion), while 95.7 per cent (2.04 billion) of total tonnes were carried intrastate. In all states and territories, at least 88.5 per cent of tonnes carried for road freight movements were within the same state or territory.

Given its huge land mass and mining industry, it is understandable that WA has the highest intrastate figures with 33.75 billion.

Of the total tonne-kilometres travelled, 32.0 per cent (62,617 million) were for interstate freight movements.

For each state and territory except Queensland, WA and Tasmania, close to half of the total tonne-kilometres travelled were for freight moving interstate.

For all states and territories of origin, less than 11.5 per cent of the total tonnes carried were for interstate freight movements.

The higher percentage for tonne-kilometres is due to the higher number of kilometres travelled in interstate trips, the ABS says.

Of the total tonne-kilometres travelled, 87.3 per cent was for freight destined for NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Similarly, the same four states were the destination for 88.7 per cent of the total tonnes carried.

"The high percentages of total tonne-kilometres travelled reflect the heavy use of the eastern Australia road network," ABS researchers say.

Freight destined for New South Wales accounted for 25.9 per cent (50.57 billion) of the total tonne-kilometres by road, Queensland 23.7 per cent (46.31 billion) and Victoria 19.3 per cent (37.67 billion). Western Australia accounted for 18.5 per cent (36.24 billion).

Due principally to its location within NSW and its size, tonne-kilometres travelled for the road freight movements from NSW to the Australian Capital Territory (538 million) exceeded intrastate movements (212 million) for the ACT.

General freight was the major commodity moved, accounting for 22.4 per cent (43.76 billion) of all tonne-kilometres travelled.

Food for animal or human consumption was the next highest with 15.6 per cent (30.54 billion) followed by ‘sand, stone and gravel’ with 9.5 per cent (18.61 billion).

Excluding general freight, food was the major commodity moved for all states and territories except WA, which shifted 8.77 billion tonne-kilometres of metal ores and scrap metal, and in the ACT where 130 million tonne-kilometres of sand, stone and gravel were delivered.

Without exception, for tonnes carried, sand, stone and gravel was the most common commodity moved across all states and territories making up approximately 23 per cent (493 million) of the total tonnes moved across Australia.

The figures and links to more detailed tables and maps, in ‘Downloads’, can be found here.



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