Telematics Use by Road Freight Operators: A Dutch Case Study
Road freight operators show a considerable variety of size classes and forms of operation in Europe with different organizational and operational problems to overcome. Small hauliers constitute the vast majority of the sector, but when considering the number of vehicles operated, it is clear that the large hauliers play a dominant role. A great variety of market segments can be distinguished within road freight operating companies, based on different criteria (e.g. product type transported, operation type etc.). Significant changes are expected in the freight sector in the EU in the coming years (Bollo 1992). Some important developments which need to be mentioned in this respect are the completion of the European internal market, the related deregulation of the European and national freight markets, and the changing requirements of major users of freight services. These developments will likely have advantageous impacts such as the simplification of trading procedures, reduction in trading and transport costs, removal of cabotage restrictions and thus a better access to markets. In this light we may mention the evolution of ‘mega-companies’ which will offer full logistics services with also other transport modes (Cooper 1992). In fact, these integrated carriers are expected to be the architects of future transport by investing large amounts in informatics, while sub-contractors will be mainly concerned with the actual trucking. Considering the above developments and combining this with the increasing congestion levels on Europe’s roads, it is clear that in addition to the collective transport telematics users like road managers, road freight operators are a very important potential actor at the demand side of the transport telecommunications market. We may expect that in this sector telematics innovations may be adopted earlier than in the case of private travellers because the economic interest is greater and transport firms may have greater opportunities to invest in the necessary equipment because of their larger financial possibilities. In contrast to the public sector (road managers), the adoption of new technological innovations is in the case of road freight operators dependent on clear economic criteria rather than on issues of public or social interest. Investment costs of these technologies will simply be compared with their expected advantageous impact on operating costs.
KeywordsSatellite Communication Mobile Telephony Freight Transport Mobile Communication System Investment Plan
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