By Shane Scanlan
The City of Melbourne launched its draft Last Kilometre Freight Plan last month, but is it really a plan?
The council has expended a lot of time and effort (and money) getting parties together in search of innovative ideas around delivery of freight in the CBD.
The process threw up a few interesting ideas, as well as the expected impractical ones like using cargo bikes (try getting a van-load of goods into a cargo bike!), or the more fanciful use of “low impact vehicles” (whatever they are) and the introduction “quite loading dock technology” (another fantasy?).
Perhaps the council realised part-way through the process that it was more engaged in a workshop or a think-tank because, upon publishing the draft “plan”, it admits that it has little jurisdiction.
Ultimately, the market determines how freight is delivered. The council is an interested by-stander.
In a preamble to introducing the draft for endorsement by councillors at their October 13 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, urban strategy manager Leanne Hodyl said: “The draft plan identifies that the private sector (deliverers and receivers of freight) have the greatest role in leading innovation in last kilometre freight. The council can play an important role in facilitating discussion and solutions, undertaking pilot programs, public leadership, communication and regulating the use of public space.”
The “plan” makes interesting reading. But it’s not a plan.