Session coverage by guest blogger Liam Stanley
- Presented by Daniel Loudon (Email, Blog Posts)
- Location: Room Four
- Time: Session #1 (11:00am - 11:35pm)
- Number of Attendees: 10
- Format: Presentation and discussion
- Relevant links: Tedx Talk
Daniel is a student at The University of Melbourne (Chemical Engineering)
Key session points:
Is space being used efficiently as possible throughout logistics and freight networks?
Current usages within the Melbourne context point to high rates of road based freight being loaded in single directions. Once a load is carried the utilisation rates of capacity of the individual vehicle is approximately 58% of the available space.
Initiatives and programs to overcome these disappointing figures currently exist, such as backloading options for large container loads SYD-MEL and vice versa, but through the introduction of open sourced freight could we achieve the same successes as other sharing and crowdsourcing initiatives?
"By opening up data sources and systems we can encourage the social movement of freight"
Talking through the barriers to opening up such systems to the general public raises a few main issues:
- Insurance and the responsiblity of carrying goods
- Creating modular sizing and boxing that offers spatial efficiency to both the user and mover
- Traceability and accountability
- How to stop human curiosity kicking in and movers opening the box(!)
While maximising empty space is a perfect opportunity for greater efficiencies, the weight of the freight is highly important. Once this changes the scale of the transportation changes dramatically:
- Light freight could be personally carried on already efficient modes of transportation such as public transport. Point to point couriers, cities with highly developed nodes and Transit Oriented Design (TOD) would be an interesting place to start.
- Heavier items always pose an issue, but spatial efficiencies can always be found to increase the mobility of freight.
Crowd sourcing a larger container and gaining economies of scale for a collective group of individuals. However with collective shipping, where does it get sent? How it is distributed onwards? Who has the custody and accountability of the items?
Do economic incentives for the decentralisation of freight exist? Nobody has seen a model to prove that this exist. While the subcontracting and market driven model of 'white van' freight leads to inefficiencies, the low labour costs and the flexibility of the work often suit contractors and driver.
Further comments about companies with travelling staff (sales reps) could utilise empty space for ‘community freight’. Such initiatives could potentially lead to positive brand imaging for the private sector and help to reduce the number of smaller freight vehicles on the road.