TRANSPORT is losing its usual silent partner status among the various factors that tenants assess as they determine where they will locate their business.

According to Savills Australia senior industrial executive Keith Kooloos, traffic flow rather than location might be the new mantra for businesses such as distribution companies.

Mr Kooloos, who has been advising industrial and especially bulky goods clients for more than 30 years, said distribution companies often overlooked travel in peak and non-peak times when buying or leasing properties.

”A lot of businesses simply choose a location that is close to freeways – and prima facie there is nothing wrong with that – but seldom do they actually drive to the location in peak hour and non-peak hours to know exactly how the traffic flows and exactly what the travel time factors are,” he said.

Mr Kooloos said a 10-minute delay for a semi-trailer each day could cost as much as $7000 per vehicle and that an average-sized distribution business with five semi-trailers, 10 tray trucks and 20 delivery vans delayed in peak or non-peak traffic every day could cost close to $150,000 a year.

The approximate hourly rates of $85 for a semi-trailer, $60 for a tray truck and $35 for a delivery van would reflect an average daily cost of $28 per semi-trailer, $40 per tray truck and $12 per delivery van or $7000, $5000, and $2875 per annum, per vehicle, he said.

His comments follow those of Rob Joyes, director of Colliers International’s operations in Melbourne’s east, who emphasised the importance of public transport for office staff.

Mr Joyes said urban business parks were a great place to work, but public transport could be improved.

In Collier’s recent office tenant survey, 51 per cent cited proximity to public transport as important. ”Increasing train and bus connections could alleviate many of the current concerns about parking and peak-hour traffic congestion,” he said. ”Train-bus links are a win-win situation.”

Mr Joyce identified the Belgrave-Lilydale and Cranbourne-Dandenong train lines as starting points. ”Bus links would have the potential to increase the frequency with which these train lines were used by people who live and work in these areas,” he said.

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