Brett Neilson and Ned Rossiter
After conducting research in Shanghai and Kolkata it seems almost capricious to complain about Sydney traffic. Yet in this wealthy city of backyards and bays, waiting in road traffic bottlenecks has become a constitutive part of urban experience. The problem is not only that Sydney, like the cities of the American west, grew up around the internal combustion engine. Nor is it simply that population growth has exceeded the capacity of public and private agencies to provide transport infrastructure. Rather, the reluctance to invest in such infrastructure is a symptom of wider economic and social tendencies that have unfolded against the background of a general depoliticization of life. Rising debt, longer working hours, growing precarity and stress have all contributed to the rampant individualism and aggression that displays itself at Sydney’s clogged intersections and gridlocked motorways. Little wonder then that logistics and traffic infrastructure have become major issues in this far-from-laid-back metropolis.
Life in the Cab
November 09, 2012
I feel pressure] to meet deadlines and time slots. [Drivers have] got to get in and get loaded, [and] yet you have to wait around [for] up to 6 hours or more.
Retail Driver, Victoria
When I started with this company I missed all the delivery windows for the first two weeks. I soon realised that I had to follow what everyone else was doing and skip my breaks to meet the delivery window times, just as everyone else was doing. The boss said if we miss the delivery window we may as well kiss the contract goodbye, and we can only blame the driver for that. Meeting the delivery window is the driver’s only focus, I was told.
Retail Driver, Tasmania
Field/s as sites of encounter
October 30, 2012
As we entered the Maritime Container Services Park (MCS), Sydney on 6 July 2012, one could see lines of containers of various shapes lined up in neat columns and huge trucks with containers negotiating their way to find a space for containers. The manager said, ‘We export air’. As he showed us around, navigating our bus through the empty pavements amidst thousands of containers stacked up in neat rows, there were several trucks with containers which came to unload the containers. What struck me and one of my other Indian colleagues was the absence of a work-force.
Interventions towards the Logistical City
October 24, 2012
292… 293… 294… 290… 291… 295…
A list of numbers flashes up above the entrance to the DP World container terminal on Simblist Rd, Port Botany, signalling to the truck drivers parked along the edge of the road when they can enter the terminal to pick up or drop off a container.
292… 293… 294… 290… 291… 295…
Each of these numbers refers to a ‘vehicle booking slot’, an agreed period within which a truck must enter the port and be serviced by the stevedore. Booked online days in advance, each of these slots refers to both an entry window into the terminal and a container to be picked up for import or dropped off for export. As the truck enters the port in compliance with their slot, RFID chips on their chassis trigger a variety of digital interactions – both automated and manual – that are designed to ensure that the right container is loaded onto the right truck in the shortest period of time with the least crane movements necessary.