Freight Movements Survey - Road Freight

   Page tools:

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    At the June 1991 Conference of Statisticians, the ABS agreed to undertake a study to determine the feasibility of collecting an expanded range of information about freight movements in Australia. This arose because State Government representatives at the Conference indicated that the quarterly Interstate Road Freight Movement collection did not go far enough in meeting their needs for freight movement data.

    The experience of overseas statistical agencies and research organisations was evaluated prior to the pilot study. Significant problems were reported in all these approaches and, in particular, the surveys are expensive to conduct. The ABS chose to develop it's own methodology, which was implemented from the June quarter 1994. Results were published in Experimental Estimates of Freight Movements, Australia (9217.0) from the June quarter 1994 to the September quarter 1995. Estimates covered freight moved by rail, sea, air and road modes in Australia.

    Concerns over the quality of the estimates and the underlying methodology of the road component began to surface when results from the first quarter (June 1994) were available for analysis. The three main issues of concern were the creation of the survey framework, the small sample size relative to the population size, and the use of sub-quarterly reporting periods. A major review of the survey commenced in mid 1996. This review concluded that the survey methodology was seriously flawed in respect to the road mode. The road survey was discontinued following September quarter 1995, consistent with Australian Statistics Advisory Council's (ASAC) advice and subject to redevelopment. However, data for the rail, sea and air (RSA) modes are compiled as a census and as such are not subject to the same problems as the road data. As a result, data continues to be compiled and are available as a standard data package for these modes. (See separate CMS entries for the RSA component of the FMS collection.)

    The FMS (rail, sea and air component) currently and historically produces quarterly estimates of freight movements by rail, air and sea. Movements are classified by origin, destination, commodity and method (bulk, dangerous, refrigerated and containerised).

    The FMS road component recommenced in February 2000 and data for all components will be published towards the end of 2001. The publication (cat. no. 9220.0) will contain information for the year ending 31 March 2001. It will contain annual estimates of freight movements similar to those released previously in cat. no. 9217.0.

    The purpose of the collection is to provide reliable freight statistics at a useful level of detail.
    Freight statistics are used by:

    1. Bureau of Transport and Communications Economics;
    2. Department of Transport and Communications;
    3. All State transport departments, rail and port authorities;
    4. State development departments;
    5. Transport associations and major transport companies; and
    6. Academic institutions

    for the following purposes:
    1. Modelling Australia's transport industry at Australia, State and regional levels;
    2. State and Commonwealth policy development on roads, railways and ports; and
    3. State and Commonwealth policy development on the transport industry in general.

    The statistics relate to goods transported via road by all industries and sectors of the Australian economy whether they are carried by transport operators (hire and reward) or moved by ancillary operators (i.e. manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, etc. moving goods on their own account). Goods moved by vehicles belonging to the defence forces and by pipeline are excluded from the survey.

    The survey covers movements undertaken by registered articulated vehicles, with gross vehicle/combination mass of 4.5 tonnes or more.


    Conceptual framework
    The FMS road component is intended to provide a measure of freight moved by articulated vehicles on Australian roads.

    Main outputs
    Population or Subpopulation - Units: Registered articulated vehicles
    Characteristics of interest:
    Usage (in particular goods and materials moved) during the 12 month period ending March 2001.

    Type of statistics:

    Freight carried all modes
    (articulated vehicles; also
    Total tonne-kilometres by State/Territory of origin and destination
    rail, sea and air)
    Total tonnes carried by State/Territory of origin and destination
    Freight carried by modeTotal tonne-kilometres by State/Territory of origin and destination
    Total tonnes carried by State/Territory of origin and destination
    Total tonnes and tonne-kilometres by Statistical Division of origin
    Total tonnes and tonne-kilometres by Statistical Division of destination
    Total tonnes and tonne-kilometres by commodity
    Commodity carried by methodTotal tonne-kilometres by commodity and method
    Total tonnes carried by commodity and method
    Mode is by road, rail sea and air.

    Total total tonnes carried and total tonne-kilometres will be presented by origin and destination of freight by statistical division by State using the 1999 version of the ASGC.

    The description of goods moved is based on the Australian Transport Freight Commodity Classification (ATFCC). Use of the new Australian and New Zealand Standard Commodity Classification (ANZSCC) was investigated during FMS development. The use of ANZSCC will be considered for a future FMS survey.

    Method of carriage is based on the Australian Pack Classification (APC), which forms part of the ATFCC.

    Main industry in which the registered vehicle operates will be classified at the ANZSIC division level.

    Other concepts (summary)

    1. National & State/Territory\1.01 Australia
    1. National & State/Territory\1.02 All States & Territories
    2. Parts of State\2.01 Statistical Division (SD)

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Confidentiality requirements may restrict the availability of data for some geographical areas. Release at the Statistical Division and above is expected. Analysis of the preliminary output will give an indication of whether estimates at the Statistical Subdivision are releasable.


    Frequency comments
    It is anticipated that the survey will be periodic, however the periodicity is undecided.

    February '92 Investigation of user requirements.
    Sept '92 - May '93 Pilot testing of FMS '94.
    January '94 Report recommending pilot test methodology produced.
    December '94 Information Paper: Freight Movements, Australia (publication 9218.0) released
    June '94 - Dec '94 FMS '94 Information Paper: Experimental Estimates of Freight Movements (publication 9217.0) - three quarters released from May to August 1995.
    June '95 - Dec '95 Sample redesign for FMS '96 (stratification and scope altered).
    Mar '95 -Sept '95 FMS '96 Experimental Estimates of Freight Movements (publication 9217.0) - three quarters released from January to June 1996.
    Mar '96 -Jun '96 Methodological review of FMS '96 conducted.
    July '96 Road component of FMS '96 suspended due to data quality problems - rail, sea and air continued.
    Aug '96 Redevelopment investigation for road component
    Sept '97 Record Keeping Practices Survey conducted
    Nov '97 - Dec '97 SAV Pilot test conducted
    Jan '98 SAV PES conducted
    Feb '98 - Mar '98 SAV questionnaire amended
    Mar '98 - May '98 SAV Dress Rehearsal conducted
    Oct '98 Forms testing exercise
    Nov '99 - Feb '99 Non response exercise conducted
    Mar '99 Final report to senior management for approval
    Feb '00 - May '01 Collection of survey data
    Nov '01 Publication 9220.0 released


    Data availability comments
    Data on all modes of freight (road, rail, sea and air) will be published for the year ending 31 March 2001 in Cat. No. 9220.0. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the major collection sponsor Bureau of Transport Economics (BTE) requires the ABS to supply specificied tables.

    03/02/2003 04:13 PM