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Under-utilisation of road freight vehicle capacity: A case for eco-efficiency through collaboration

Leshchynskyy, Alex LU (2013) In IIIEE Master thesis IMEN56 20131
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
The road haulage sector experiences a considerable amount of inefficiency, characterised by
sub-optimal utilisation of an individual vehicle’s cubic load fill and weight hauling capacity.
This study firstly aims to understand why – despite its evident economic and environmental
cost – this phenomenon has existed over the years. Next, an overview of initiatives and
opportunities for improving freight vehicle capacity utilisation will be given. This paper by no
means attempts to suggest that part-loaded or empty trucking can be fully eliminated. What is
argued however is that there is theoretical scope for reducing the socio-environmental
externalities of these activities while sustaining – if not increasing – the benefits that road
... (More)
The road haulage sector experiences a considerable amount of inefficiency, characterised by
sub-optimal utilisation of an individual vehicle’s cubic load fill and weight hauling capacity.
This study firstly aims to understand why – despite its evident economic and environmental
cost – this phenomenon has existed over the years. Next, an overview of initiatives and
opportunities for improving freight vehicle capacity utilisation will be given. This paper by no
means attempts to suggest that part-loaded or empty trucking can be fully eliminated. What is
argued however is that there is theoretical scope for reducing the socio-environmental
externalities of these activities while sustaining – if not increasing – the benefits that road
haulage offers to the economy. Alongside direct mitigation of energy efficiency (by vehicle
technology and/or modal shifts), maximizing existing vehicle capacity utilization must also
form an integral part of efforts to green modern road freight logistics.It is suggested that horizontal collaboration and multi-actor co-loading of freight vehicles
holds the greatest potential for improving vehicle fill rates. This requires little capital
investment and would mean that the same degree of utility is delivered with fewer individual
vehicles on the road. However, it is also argued that a collaborative road freight model may
come in conflict with modern customer demands and production patterns, which typically
involve rapid just-in-time deliveries of ever smaller consignments. Subsequently the
widespread outsourcing of road freight operations to external third-party operators has not
resulted in pronounced gains in vehicle capacity utilisation. It appears that a transport operator
has very limited ability to better consolidate goods within its vehicles, unless its contractors
offer an operational environment where this is possible.
This paper suggests that a platform be established that will enable transport purchasers
(contractors) to identify synergies in their logistical flows. This should help to move away
from one-vehicle-to-one-customer arrangements, and develop an approach where a single
moving vehicle’s available capacity is viewed as a service that is available for the benefit of
several actors at the same time. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Leshchynskyy, Alex LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Road freight transport, empty running, consolidation, back-hauling, eco-efficiency, horizontal collaboration
publication/series
IIIEE Master thesis
report number
2013:02
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
4196227
date added to LUP
2013-12-17 14:53:00
date last changed
2013-12-17 14:53:00
@misc{4196227,
  abstract     = {The road haulage sector experiences a considerable amount of inefficiency, characterised by
sub-optimal utilisation of an individual vehicle’s cubic load fill and weight hauling capacity.
This study firstly aims to understand why – despite its evident economic and environmental
cost – this phenomenon has existed over the years. Next, an overview of initiatives and
opportunities for improving freight vehicle capacity utilisation will be given. This paper by no
means attempts to suggest that part-loaded or empty trucking can be fully eliminated. What is
argued however is that there is theoretical scope for reducing the socio-environmental
externalities of these activities while sustaining – if not increasing – the benefits that road
haulage offers to the economy. Alongside direct mitigation of energy efficiency (by vehicle
technology and/or modal shifts), maximizing existing vehicle capacity utilization must also
form an integral part of efforts to green modern road freight logistics.It is suggested that horizontal collaboration and multi-actor co-loading of freight vehicles
holds the greatest potential for improving vehicle fill rates. This requires little capital
investment and would mean that the same degree of utility is delivered with fewer individual
vehicles on the road. However, it is also argued that a collaborative road freight model may
come in conflict with modern customer demands and production patterns, which typically
involve rapid just-in-time deliveries of ever smaller consignments. Subsequently the
widespread outsourcing of road freight operations to external third-party operators has not
resulted in pronounced gains in vehicle capacity utilisation. It appears that a transport operator
has very limited ability to better consolidate goods within its vehicles, unless its contractors
offer an operational environment where this is possible.
This paper suggests that a platform be established that will enable transport purchasers
(contractors) to identify synergies in their logistical flows. This should help to move away
from one-vehicle-to-one-customer arrangements, and develop an approach where a single
moving vehicle’s available capacity is viewed as a service that is available for the benefit of
several actors at the same time.},
  author       = {Leshchynskyy, Alex},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {Road freight transport,empty running,consolidation,back-hauling,eco-efficiency,horizontal collaboration},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Master thesis},
  title        = {Under-utilisation of road freight vehicle capacity: A case for eco-efficiency through collaboration},
  year         = {2013},
}