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  3. Freight Systems

Freight Systems (CVEN90061)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCVEN90061
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


There is a need for civil engineers to increase their knowledge and skills in freight systems since they are actively involved in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of a range of freight infrastructure such as roads, bridges and ports. Civil engineers require expertise in freight systems to reduce the social and environmental costs from freight including safety, noise and emissions. Training in freight systems also provides opportunities for freight networks to become more productive and efficient increasing economic benefits for society.

Freight infrastructure allows the freight system to operate, facilitating vital components of our economy, including production, distribution and trade.

The purpose of the freight system relates to its role in providing a service for the economy. Freight transport is a derived demand; it does not exist for its own sake. The primary demand is for the consumption of goods where there is spatial separation. Goods are generally stored, processed and consumed at different locations. There is a need for goods to move to increase their value for producers, manufacturers and consumers. Freight can be considered as the economy in motion. Goods are transported as part of the economic activities of production, manufacturing and consumption.


Freight networks provide a service for producers and manufacturers allowing access to markets for the consumption of goods. The benefit of goods being transported relates to their increased value at their trip destination. Reduced transport operation costs leads to lower production and distribution costs that creates opportunities for lower priced goods.

Intended learning outcomes


On successful completion of the subject, students should be able to:

  1. Analyse the major issues for key stakeholders in freight systems, including carriers, shippers, receivers, residents and administrators
  2. Investigate the impacts of freight using data analysis methods
  3. Evaluate options for increasing the sustainability of freight systems
  4. Generate multi-modal freight networks for improving the sustainability of freight systems
  5. Develop procedures for optimising distribution networks including fleet planning and management as well as warehouse and depot location
  6. Investigate the effects of increased vehicle operating costs, vehicle axle loads and road pricing on the performance of freight systems
  7. Synthesize the flow of commodities and freight vehicles in transport networks.

Generic skills

Having completed this subject, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Execute basic research and problem-solving skills - including problem identification, data sourcing, analysis formulation and execution, and the nomination or provision of viable solutions
  2. Organise themselves into effective working groups that replicate real-world (freight) project environments
  3. Manage personal time and workload efficiently, to deliver needed outputs in a timely manner (as per real-world transport project environment)
  4. Execute effective, professional-level verbal communication and discussion around current real-world freight issues and concepts, as well as professional-level written communication skills (for transport themes and projects)
  5. Understand social, cultural, global, and environmental responsibilities and the relevance of sustainable development principles
  6. Participate in projects which require team-work
  7. Understand the significance and value of knowledge to the wider community (including business and industry)
  8. Utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  9. Communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large, and
  10. Summarise and present design concepts and outcomes.

Last updated: 22 August 2019