If we are being honest, it’s been a rocky 12 months for anything to do with Europe. The waves of uncertainty that Brexit brought with it have left many distributers throughout the UK cautious of what is to come for their vehicles travelling throughout the EU. This indecision and doubt hasn’t stopped many within the road freight industry prospering and creating growth within the sector.
Not only Brexit will play a key role in the changing landscape of European Road. The minimum hourly wage for drivers in France and Germany, which was brought in some time ago, is also likely to continue affecting the cost structure of road freight providers operating in markets across Europe.
The technological advancements within the next 5 – 10 years will also play a key factor in the way in which the industry approaches road distribution. Automated vehicles, electric engines and tracking improvements are set to impact the industry just as much as the UK’s departure from Europe. Along with the environmental developments that are continuously worked upon through the industry, we are seeing European Road change in front of our very eyes.
Whilst it is hard to predict the outcomes of all these changes, in economic terms i.e. as sources of wealth, employment and in terms of support given to other economic activities, we can be positive that European road will continue to provide a significant piece of the UK’s economic structure.
This can be backed up with significant investments in road development throughout the country. We cannot escape the universal nature the road freight industry offers for infrastructure, and here at FORWARDER, we will be showing you the advantages and disadvantages to the current aspects of the road freight industry.
Whilst air and sea distribution are the only alternative for some companies, road freight throughout Europe is one of the most cost-effective ways for smaller companies to transport goods. New safety regulations have meant that vehicles stay on the road for longer, making the use, and lifespan, of the vehicles more efficient for drivers and companies. New safety design can be more easily assimilated into new car manufacturing costs at the original design stage rather than during subsequent stages of production, meaning something small, like Day Time Running Lights, can reduce the cost of your road freight in the long run.
Advancements in tracking and visibility for freight forwarders has developed at an incredible rate over the last decade. Tracker technology will be compulsory in 2018 and fitted as standard in every model for distribution. These tracking devices can do such things as alert the emergency services in the event of an accident, cutting down on road deaths and helping delays of products on the road.
Due to the communications tools at the disposal of many drivers, companies now can keep track of exactly the conditions in which they are subjected to. This is incredibly helpful in terms of how customers receive information on their product. If somebody now calls regarding a delay, due to the communications revolution, companies can now advise them exactly why there is a delay, along with an expected time of arrival, resulting in less customer complaints.
Perfect for Perishable
Perishable goods make up a great deal of the road haulage. Due to the transfers between ocean and air freight, road is the best distribution method for products such as pharmaceutical. Trailers are easily adapted to create the perfect atmosphere for an assortment of perishable goods, and with the usually quick turnaround of deliveries, many companies dealing with perishable will continue to use road freight as their best form of transport.
Traffic, Breakdowns, Weather and Regulations
Whilst, as we can see, there are a plethora of reasons to use road freight, which instils confidence in the sector, there are disadvantages which would be remiss of me not to mention. Traffic delays, adverse weather, unforeseen breakdowns and regulations at ports or tolls are always going to slow down the process of road freight. However, with the many advantages to European Road, we can expect to see the sector grow and prosper over the next 12 months.
Matt Dailly, Editor, FORWARDER magazine