Transport in 2040, how do we keep Europe moving?

By Freek Aertsen | January 29, 2013 | 2 min read

The coming years the transport sector will face a number of major changes, such as a shortage of drivers, traffic congestion and technological developments. "All the investments companies will do now have high risks," says assistant lecturer Walther Ploos van Amstel.

What are the most pressing problems companies have to deal with in the coming years?

Because a quarter of the truck drivers will retire the coming years there will be a shortage of staff. Moreover, the roads are getting more and more crowded. The result is that transportation by road is not always possible. Companies should look to other modes of transport, for example train or boat. This has implications for transportation planning. Transportation by barge for example is designed for large volumes that have the time to reach destination. To fill up the ships, companies have to combine their supply of goods. That means a tight planning process, collaborating with other companies and seamless sharing of information.

3 major challenges for companies

What are the trends?

Companies face 3 major challenges. First, there are technological developments. Different types of fuels are becoming common, for example electricity and LNG. Now trucks run on diesel, but in a while trucks will be electric. In addition, on major highways there are test with unmanned vehicles.
A second trend is that companies are combining their supply of goods. When you start using other modes of transportation you need to.
And third, 80 percent of consumers live in the city, but more and more cities ban Diesel trucks in the citycenter. That means companies have to think about other modes transport for the last meters. A mode of transportation that is as quiet, safe and invisible as possible.

What investment to do best?

What implications do these trends have for companies?

All the investments companies will do now in transportation have a high risk. When a company now does an investment, the board should ask themselves if there is a fast return on investment and if they product will continue to used. For example, is it wise to buy a Diesel truck? Do you invest in a private warehouse or do you choose a public one? What investments a company can do best?

In addition, companies are expected to be more transparent. Bundling supply chains requires insight into the chain. That means one hundred percent transparency of companies, otherwise you can not exchange data. That's a big change, companies are not transparent enough now. How do you become transparent as a company? What data is best to share?

And the skillset for the staff is going to change. A company needs staff who overlooks the whole chain before making a decision. This requires a different kind of manager, because the decisions he makes are on a whole different level. Therefore, training is very important the next years. But what skills you need to obtain as a manager? And what knowledge is needed to make decisions across the whole supply chain? Those are things that you as a company should think about.


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