Mayors unite for cleaner freight

Published: Friday, 19 June 2020 at 9:03:21 AM

The mayors of Fremantle, Melville and East Fremantle have put their collective support behind cleaner freight initiatives that will enable more efficient use of the road network by capping freight volumes and placing stricter controls on the types of trucks allowed to transport freight.

The mayors are calling for:

  • A new Fremantle Port accreditation system that will bring in cleaner and quieter trucks and over time ban older, dirtier trucks.
  • State government incentives for clean, quieter trucks and ultimately a zero emissions truck fleet based on hydrogen and electric vehicles.
  • Government to work with industry to incentivise these quieter trucks to run outside of business and especially peak hours.

The intent is to reduce the effects of noise and diesel pollution on local residents by ensuring only cleaner and quieter trucks can access the port.

City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, Melville Mayor George Gear and East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill said each of their councils had had plenty of feedback from residents fed up with screeching brakes, exhaust fumes and congestion on roads at peak times.

The three mayors said they would ideally like to see a working group comprising Fremantle Ports, Main Roads, the Freight Logistics Council, Western Roads Federation, Transport Workers Union, and local councils that can make recommendations to State Government on the best approach.

A key focus would be encouraging freight operators to upgrade to cleaner, more modern trucks, including Euro 6 trucks, and ultimately electric and hydrogen vehicles.

Mayor Pettitt said delivering cleaner freight initiatives should happen whatever the outcomes of the impending Westport Taskforce Report on the future of Fremantle Port, as it would deliver great benefits.

“Regardless of what happens with the port in the long-term, we all want to see greater productivity, better efficiency and less community impact of freight movements to and from Fremantle,” he said.

“Trucks that are quieter, cleaner, more efficient and can carry full loads would enable a more efficient utilisation of the road network, delivering improved operating efficiencies and reducing impact on local residents and the environment.

“There are plenty of examples around Australia and the world where this has happened to great effect. It really is a no brainer for our community.”

Possible options to achieve cleaner freight outcomes include:

  • Requirements for all trucks to have emissions control technology, such as exhaust gas recirculation.
  • Limiting truck movements during peak commute times and smoother freight runs encouraged through green light coordination on Leach Highway.
  • Roadworks to remediate areas of high risk and noise, such as the pending upgrade of the intersection of High Street and Stirling Highway with potential for other improvements along other sections of Stirling and Leach Hwy.
  • Increasing day time rail freight via a dedicated line on the pending new Fremantle Traffic Bridge and exploration of coastal shipping – the ‘blue highway’ – are other options.

Why are clean freight initiatives needed?

  • Australia has one of the oldest truck fleets in the world, with an average of 15 years. Up to half of the trucks driving in Australian cities were built before 1996 and have no pollution controls.
  • Air and noise pollution are major causes, not only of hearing loss, but also of heart disease, learning problems in children and sleep disturbance (World Health Organisation).

Where has this been done elsewhere?

The Port of LA in the USA operates multiple near zero or zero-emission technologies to move goods from ships.

Mayor of East Fremantle with the Mayors of Melville and Fremantle, calling for clean freight

Picture caption: Mayor of East Fremantle, Jim O'Neill (right) with Mayor of Melville, George Gear (centre) and Mayor of Fremantle Dr Brad Pettitt (left) united in their commitment to finding a better way forward.

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