Goodyear Commercial Director UK & Ireland Marc Preedy (pictured) reflects on the changing landscape of the logistics industry.
The road freight industry has historically operated on low profit margins. In some cases that can make fleets unsustainable.
Operators looking to make profits in the longer-term are necessarily investing in order to do so. The evolution of the Euro VI engine is one example of this, and the life cycle for vehicles is shrinking. For fleets with less capacity to invest this presents a challenge. Market analysis suggests that while the industry will continue to grow in the medium-term, consolidation may be necessary if profitability is to improve.
Consolidation could take a range of forms. In some cases operators may formally merge their functions. In others, greater co-operation between fleets will reduce unnecessary costs, in particular in relation to reducing journeys without a payload.
Beyond Europe there is evidence that international players are entering markets that have traditionally been dominated by local operators. For example, Kuwaiti-based Agility Logistics has an increasingly visible presence in the Australian market.
Fuel costs are consistently the principal concern of fleet managers and regardless of the recent price decreases will still remain a cost that needs to be closely managed in 2015.
The improvements in fuel efficiency and the consequent reductions in carbon emissions are testament to the
industry’s efforts in this direction: a modern long-haul truck today is 30 per cent more fuel-efficient than 30 years ago. This is a marked improvement, undoubtedly technology’s influence has helped the industry deliver this percentage and will continue to have a positive impact. Tyre technology is one area that has seen substantial developments over the last 30 years. Goodyear’s latest tyre the FuelMax is a great example of this, derived from extensive R&D it is packed full of innovative tyre technology to support fleets in their on-going battle to lower their total cost of ownership.
The outlook for the commercial market is optimistic, and the medium levels of growth predicted will ensure a very competitive 2015.
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