Without a doubt, road freight transport is an extremely important part of the economy.
Especially when you consider that trucks carry 90% of the total value of freight transport and approximately 75% of goods by land.
If you want to know everything about road transport, its development trends and its importance, keep reading!
What is road freight transport – Definition
What exactly is road freight transport? According to its definition:
Road freight transport is the process of transporting goods by vehicles, through a road network and with the help of a transport company.
Load Types: Full Truck Load, Less-than-Truckload & Partial Truckload
There are three types of loads depending on their quantity and transport conditions: Full Truck Load, Less-than-Truckload and Partial Truckload.
FTL means that the cargo you want to transport will take up the entire storage space of the truck, which makes it the cheapest mode of road transportation relative to the transported quantity, if one has enough cargo to fill it.
It also ensures that your cargo will be transported directly to its destination, without intermediate stops and delays thus, the risk of loss or damage is minimised.
The other two types concern loads that do not occupy the entire space of the truck.
In a LTL your cargo will take up a smaller portion of the entire storage, travelling with the cargo of other companies.
Although it is the cheapest option, the LTL is more time-consuming due to the many stops, and also poses more safety risks (transfers, disembarkation, etc.).
PTL involves a larger volume of goods than LTL, which, however, still does not take up all the space of the vehicle.
Even though it is also transported with foreign cargo, it will travel on the same truck without changing hands or vehicle. Thus, the risk of damage or loss is reduced.
Characteristics of road freight transport
Road freight transport has certain characteristics that make it unbeatable compared to other types of transport.
Let’s see the main advantages of road freight transport:
- Door to door delivery:
Their greatest comparative advantage is that trucks can reach almost any location.
Ask yourself this: even if the goods are transported by plane, ship or train, will they remain at the airport, port and train station?
Of course not! The truck will deliver them to your door!
Although other means are faster, road transport is much more agile.
The preparation of the shipment and the start-up of the service is much more immediate, and it makes it the most efficient option for short and medium distances of up to 2,500 km.
The road transporter has the flexibility to plan the entire route, since roads are literally everywhere.
In addition, in road transport there are no predetermined routes and no need for pre-bookings.
- Low Cost:
Road means have much lower costs as they do not need specialised infrastructure, such as airports, ports or railway stations.
So, road transport tends to be a very economical solution.
- Less bureaucracy, more efficiency
Compared to sea or air transport, the paperwork involved in road transport is much simpler. The time spent at customs or on delivery of the goods is much shorter, streamlining the business supply chain.
- Traceability and Stability
GPS and new fleet management software allow for easier tracking of goods. On top of real-time information, this makes it possible to anticipate problems such as road closures or the arrival of storms, and plan appropriately to avoid delays.
Rail or road freight?
Comparing the two types of land transport, we find that each has its pros and cons.
The train leads in terms of freight volume and environmental footprint.
This is because it can carry much larger amounts of cargo than the truck, while emitting much less polluting gases.
However, the truck is ideal for shorter hauls, presenting huge flexibility of routes!
Besides, as we have seen, it is always necessary even after rail transport for the final delivery!
Development trends in road freight transport
Recently in Greece, the law governing road mobility has changed for the better. Law 3887/10 used to provide for the licensing of lorries and regulated the road transport regime.
The European Union has upgraded European transport policy, facilitating and liberalising international road freight transport and road transport cabotage (intra-transport).
The EU’s Mobility Package 1 is a relatively recent development which covers various pieces of legislation which the European Parliament and Council negotiated and adopted in August of 2020. This covers key aspects of the road transport sector and brings about various changes in regulations over the:
Driving and rest time rules of drivers and their passengers
Posting of drivers
Access to the profession of Road freight and passenger transport operators
Market access for road freight transport
In addition, technological progress and the need for environmental protection set new requirements. Thus, road freight transport and how it is carried out is inevitably affected.
All this has prepared the ground for new trends to emerge in road freight transport, with an eye on the future.
But what exactly are the development trends in road freight transport?
Digitization and autonomous truck driving
In the coming years, autonomous trucks that will not even need a driver are expected to flood the roads!
This has been qualified in response to staff shortages seen in recent years.
Also, digitization and autonomous driving will offer the part of accident prevention, but also of finding the optimal route based on the geospatial data that will be collected.
The EU’s plan to sell only zero-emission vehicles from 2035 onwards marks a new era.
The shift towards “green” development and sustainable transport goes through the establishment of electric mobility.
Electric vehicles serve multiple environmental goals, such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, eliminating noise pollution, and transitioning away from oil.
LHVs (Longer Heavier Vehicles) are a special type of trucks that exceed the maximum permitted length of 18.75 meters (up to 25m).
These trucks contribute a lot to the improvement of road transport, as they can carry a larger load than conventional trucks.
So, fewer trips are needed (two versus three) to transport the same load. This contributes to traffic relief and, above all, to the reduction of gaseous pollutant emissions.
In conclusion, we would say that road freight transport is – and will continue to be – an indispensable mode of goods transport.
Their flexibility and affordability give them unrivalled comparative advantages, turning them into one of the main pillars of economic activity.
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