The volume of road freight transport is growing. By now, it has grown to a considerable extent. As a result, there is high environmental pollution because of CO2 emissions and a large burden on the transport routes. But we can improve the situation: Empty runs of trucks are a huge problem on European roads. They are a natural consequence of flows of goods due to changing and asymmetric customer requirements. Improving the utilization of trucks, it is not only the environment that benefits.
With the introduction of the eco-tax in Germany between april 1999 and 2003, the share of empty miles of domestic trucks fell from around 26 to under 20 percent. Owing to the ecological tax reform, there was now a levy on energy consumption to protect the environment, which made freight transports more expensive. Since january 2005, there exists also a toll for trucks. It applies to all trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 7,5 tonnes on all federal highways.
In the last ten years, however, the share of empty runs and miles of German trucks has risen again: Of more than 400 million truck rides in the last year, around 37 percent of them were empty runs. Therefore, every third truck on the road is unloaded. This is due to suboptimal route planning. For instance, if a truck delivers goods from Munich to a storage or transition point in Rome, it then has to drive to the next loading point – without freight. Such empty runs cost time, fuel and money. It would be ideal if the truck takes a delivery on its way back. But this is unusual.
Using network effects
Via route optimization, truck utilization can be significantly improved. A platform can be used to combine several transport orders in one route. The more carriers and customers a logistic company has, the greater the chance of getting orders together in the best possible way. These so-called network effects make road freight transport more efficient from an economic and ecological point of view. This minimizes CO2 emissions and prevents empty runs as much as possible.
Additionally, digitalization can help making transports faster, cheaper and more climate-friendly. With digital live-tracking, short-term route changes are possible and transports can be optimally controlled. Using a software, sennder can profit from the network effects and ensure optimal route planning. We can thus contribute to a better capacity utilization of trucks and to a environmentally friendly freight transport.