The Concept of Smart Freight Transport Systems – the road haulier’s perspective
Paper in proceedings, 2007
The context of transportation has changed significantly with the globalisation of supply chains, steeply rising fuel costs and further emphasis on environmental performance. Since transportation accounts for an ever larger share of costs, lead times and environmental im-pact, there are increased pressures for more efficient execution.
Major tools for improving efficiency are the use of information and communication systems to better plan, monitor and control the transport activities. This calls for reliable data capture, storage, processing and communication. Here, recent hardware and software ad-vancements leading to technologies available at a reasonable price wait to be utilised for distributed decision-making.
Road hauliers are currently the subjects of significant pressure to incorporate the new ap-plications into their operations from vehicle suppliers, the government and transport buyers; either directly or via their contracted logistics service providers. Hauliers are generally very small companies operating at a very small (if any) profit margin. They are often not able to employ or develop their own technical competence. Hence, they risk being forced to invest in several costly systems with overlapping functionality; each fulfilling certain needs of their strong counterparts rather than their own.
This article takes the road hauliers’ perspective, with the purpose of identifying their need for information and communication support, while analyzing how they are matched with the current supply of technologies. The concept of Smart Freight Transport Systems (SFTS) is developed in a case study setting as a departure from the truck and haulier level. The rendering also departs from what is currently available on the market and what is likely to be available within a five-year timeframe rather than trying to define a highly futuristic view.