Road transport and logistics are so constantly evolving that it is sometimes difficult to make forecasts in the medium term. However, those who work in the sectors know the next challenges they will face.
Road transport challenges
The transportation industry has been described by various logistical studies conducted in Europe. One of the most comprehensive is the “Descriptive study of the transport and logistics sectors” elaborated by Everis, a consultancy firm, which was endorsed by both the Business Organisation of Logistics and Transport and Spain’s Logistics Centre.
Adapting the sector to clients’ needs
It is estimated that in 17% of cases, transport companies are not flexible enough to satisfy client demand, or hauliers provide a substandard delivery. Adapting delivery conditions (time and place) to demand is a vital challenge for the new economy.
Transport is only profitable if it is secure
Risks imputable to security failings in road transport have decreased in recent years, but they still exist. Improving security by reducing thefts and losses due to accidents is a challenge for private businesses and national governments. Technology may be the greatest ally in this fight, through security investments, anti-theft devices and fleet management systems, which can pinpoint each vehicle at any given time.
International road transport is subject to different regulations in each country. The lack of harmonization penalizes hauliers as it implies a certain cost in keeping up with each government’s requirements. It is also the cause of avoidable administrative sanctions.
To avoid extra costs, it is crucial to coordinate and plan transport so as to benefit from inter-modal synergies. If road transport operators form an alliance with their rail, maritime and air counterparts, everyone stands to gain. Lower insurance premiums due to damage and theft, and reduced transport costs and loading and unloading times are reason enough to promote the importance of inter-modality.
Developing a comprehensive training plan for logistics professionals would foster different levels of technical requirement across the supply chain. It would also guarantee access to new technologies and set in motion cross-cutting training initiatives. The European Union’s launch of Code 95, which underscores the importance of refreshing knowledge and environmental awareness, is a good example of such training.
Another challenge is to bring about more environmentally sustainable road transport. Route optimization, the use of clean fuel, sustainable urban distribution and the employment of fleet managers all contribute to reducing the amount of polluting gases released into the atmosphere by goods transport.