Double trailer combination on test in Spain

For some countries, a long and heavy vehicle combination of 25,25 metres causes a lot of discussion, but in Spain car maker Seat has a go on a double trailer combination which commutes between Zaragoza and Martorell.

In the upcoming months, Seat is allowed to test the double trailer combination. It is 32 metres long and it has a carrying capacity of 70 tonnes. Two regular 13,60 metre trailers are coupled by a two axle dolly. All is being pulled by a Scania V8, also part of the VW Group these days.

Seat expects to reduce CO2 output with this juggernaut by 20%, a similar reduction of fuel consumption is expected, compared to two normal combinations. Seat intends to reduce the number of trucks on the road while at the same time improving efficiency.

Bron: Big Truck Magazine

International road haulage over 4 percent up

In 2017, 199 million tonnes of goods were transported by road from and to the Netherlands. This is an increase of 4.3 percent on the previous year. Lorries from the Netherlands as well as from other countries carried more cargo in 2017, according to new figures available at Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
Last year, foreign road hauliers carried 95 million tonnes of cargo into and out of the Netherlands, representing an increase of 5.1 percent relative to 2016. Road transport by Dutch lorries went up by 3.5 percent. Cross-border transport by Dutch hauliers saw an increase again for the first time, after two years of decline. The share of foreign hauliers in total weight transported rose again last year. Between 2008 and 2017, it went up from 38 to 48 percent. The increase in transport from and to the Netherlands was mainly on account of lorries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE countries). Total weight of transported goods to and from the Netherlands by these lorries almost tripled between 2008 and 2017.

Bilateral transport
International transport by Dutch road hauliers mainly involves bilateral traffic. Of the weight carried by Dutch lorries in cross-border transport in 2017, 92 percent was loaded or unloaded in the Netherlands. Lorries from CEE countries accounted for a share of 61 percent of bilateral transport last year. This share was lowest among hauliers from Romania, namely 35 percent. Of the cargo loaded in the Netherlands, only 10 percent was transported to this country. Two-thirds of the goods were destined for Germany, Belgium and France.

More Polish hauliers
Just like Dutch hauliers, lorries from the other European countries mainly engage in international haulage from and to their own country (91 percent on average). In 2017, 40 percent of the weight transported to and from the Netherlands was on account of Belgian and German lorries, versus 62 percent in 2008. The share of Belgian road hauliers almost halved in this period. German lorries transported 26.5 million tonnes of cargo in and out of the country in 2017, which represented a share of 28 percent. Between 2008 and 2017, the share of weight transported by Polish hauliers rose from 11 to 27 percent and is now almost as large as Germany’s share. Road hauliers from Poland carried 25.4 million tonnes of goods from and to the Netherlands in 2017.

Source: CBS

The rise of driver assistance technology

As we get closer to the prospect of 10 million self-driving cars being on the road by 2020 that was claimed in 2016, here, with Lookers, who provide a variety of Ford Motability Cars, we look at driver assistance technologies which are now becoming standard in the UK.

When we look at buying a new car, the technology on offer can often sway our decision. Whether it’s a built-in sat-nav to help you get from A to B, or alarms to prevent you from crashing when parking, driver-assistance technology is now a main selling point. In years gone by, it was power steering and electric steering. As technology advances though, so too does our range of driver-assistance tools.

Parking sensors
Parking sensors can help avoid these unwanted prangs – from your end at least. They are a great way to make sure you avoid any unnecessary bumps. It’s common knowledge that car parks are breeding grounds for accidents. Stats found that Britain is a nation of terrible parkers, with two-thirds of drivers admitting that their vehicles have been damaged in a car park. With a series of beeps alerting you as you get closer to any close objects – or sometimes an illustration on a parking camera – parking sensors can make sure you avoid scrapes. This not only saves your car from depreciating rapidly in value, but also saves any unwanted insurance claims going against you.

Tyre pressure monitoring
Not only does this help with your driving capabilities, it can also save you money as poor tyre pressure can waste fuel consumption. The tyre pressure monitoring systems will allow you to know when to pump your tyres up without needing to get out of your car and physically check.

Built-in sat nav
Your car can now include a built-in sat nav. Simply type in your destination and away you go – no questions asked. The days of pulling over and reading the map to find your destination certainly appear to be a thing of the past.

Lane departure warnings
With lane departure warning systems, you can ensure your own vehicle doesn’t drift out of your allotted lane as an alarm will sound to make sure you take corrective action and stay safely within the lines. Some lane-keeping assistance systems are also available, and these go a step further by making automatic small corrective actions without any driver input.

Blind spot detection
Unfortunately for some of the sleeker car designs on the market, this comes with a drawback — a larger blind spot. That’s where the blind spot detection feature is proving useful. It works by alerting you when another vehicle that is outside of your direct field of vision is approaching. It can do so in several ways, including a warning sound, a light on your side mirror, or a vibration of the steering wheel.

Semi-autonomous driving
However, for now, semi-autonomous driving is a feature that is available in luxury models. For those of us who find ourselves regularly travelling, this gadget allows us to relax on the road as it helps the car maintain a constant speed while staying in lane and watching out for potential collisions. Although it shouldn’t be seen as a tool to replace driving, it’s said to reduce fatigue on those long and tedious drives.

Adaptive light control
While your lights can beam into the distance, sometimes this isn’t enough for drivers who find driving in the dark nerve wracking. That’s where adaptive light control has been brought in to be of assistance. Designed to help drivers see better in the dark and see further, this assistance enables your headlights to swivel and rotate so that the road in front of you is more illuminated, especially round corners.

Driver drowsiness detection
While there has previously been campaigns to target driver fatigue, which introduced signs on motorways telling drivers not to drive tired, some cars nowadays come with driver drowsiness detection. It’s thought that falling asleep behind the wheel may be a factor in 10% of all road accidents and car companies have introduced the technology to try to eliminate this risk. The system works by recognising tell-tale signs, such as a driver’s head nodding that indicates sleepiness. Driving while you’re tired kills.

It’s clear that technological advances are improving our driving experience and car dealers are acknowledging this. Next time you’re in the market for a new car, see what is available to assist you on your journey. Besides automated driving, what will be next?

Source: Transport News

Shipping Says Go East to Find Your Fortune

The results from the latest Norton Rose Fulbright The way ahead transport survey are in and the consensus among shipping respondents is that a majority of the shipping industry (58 per cent) continues to favour Asia Pacific for investment opportunities over the next two to five years, followed, to a far lesser extent, by Europe (16 per cent). China (17 per cent) and India (16 per cent) remain the most popular markets for investment.

A merger or acquisition is seen as the optimal investment opportunity (by 34 per cent, up from 29 per cent in 2015), while 13 per cent favour joint ventures, alliances and pools (down from 28 per cent in 2015). Respondents expect consolidation to be at the centre of shipping businesses’ strategies over the next 12 months, either in the form of mergers and acquisitions (22 per cent) or joint ventures (19 per cent), while 22 per cent expect a focus on the disposal of non-core assets.

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) expect investment in technology to increase over the next five years, with low carbon technology expected to have the most significant impact on the industry during this period (by 33 per cent), followed by predictive analytics (by 24 per cent).

Almost half (42 per cent) believe that greater transparency in the application and enforcement of existing and proposed regulations would be the most helpful form of government support for the shipping industry, more so than fiscal incentives (32 per cent) or investment in infrastructure (29 per cent).

Environmental regulation is seen as the regulation that has had the greatest impact on shipping over the past decade (by 49 per cent), followed by trade and financial sanctions (by 25 per cent).

Supply and demand imbalances are seen as the greatest challenge to the operational efficiency of the industry (by 47 per cent), followed by a lack of qualified people (12 per cent) and emission controls (9 per cent). A global recession is seen as the greatest threat to the health of shipping over the next five years (by 68 per cent). To a lesser extent, respondents are also concerned about the impact of enforcement by creditors on debt obligations (12 per cent) and continued political and economic uncertainty in the Eurozone (8 per cent).

Bank debt is once again expected to act as shipping’s primary source of funding over the next two years (22 per cent), followed by shareholder support (18 per cent) and private equity (16 per cent). Despite the problem of overcapacity in many sub-sectors of the industry, fuelled by newbuild vessels coming on to the market, 11 per cent think that ECA funding will be the industry’s main source of finance.

The report found shipping is the least optimistic industry within the transport sector, by a significant margin. Only 15 per cent believe that current market conditions are positive, down from 33 per cent in 2015 and 69 per cent in 2014.

Overcapacity is the principal reason given for this lack of optimism (66 per cent), followed, to a lesser extent, by economic uncertainty in key markets (27 per cent).

Respondents are more optimistic when asked to consider the outlook for shipping over the next five years. That said, just 22 per cent believe that funding will become more readily available and 64 per cent think that the number of enforcement actions will increase as lenders seek to protect their positions and recover losses. Most (68 per cent) expect fuel costs to rise.

Brexit: What Will be the Supply Chain Implications?

As the UK votes today to either leave or remain in the EU, Phil Gibbs, executive director of customer success at LLamasoft, outlines what Brexit would mean for the supply chain.

As the citizens of the UK prepare for the most substantial referendum in recent memory, Britain’s businesses are busy preparing for the huge and unclear consequences that leaving the European Union will undoubtedly bring to their operations.

Though platforms from both sides have recently taken a turn into ideological, sometimes bizarre, territory, the heart of the Brexit debate has always been the nation’s economy.

Many of the world’s most prominent economists have speculated on the impact on growth and employment within the EU nations and the wider world. While this speculation has varied, the impact that a Brexit vote would have on supply chains and global volatility cannot be ignored.

In the event that voters are in favour of leaving the EU, the UK will enter a two-year period of negotiation on the exit terms. The event of a member nation leaving the EU is entirely unprecedented, meaning the reaction of member states is entirely uncertain. The remaining members could decide to be accommodating and keep open trading relations, but it is more likely that they would take a tough stance on the UK in order to discourage any other waverers from leaving and precipitating a breakup of the whole union.

Upon leaving the EU, the UK will be required to establish new trading arrangements with the union. This could take different forms, such as membership of the European Economic Area, favoured nation status, bi-lateral accords and World Trade Organisation rules.

The UK would also need to establish new trading rules with non-EU countries. Whatever the arrangements, any new barriers to trade will affect the structure of a supply chain and the positioning of inventory. It may precipitate a move to more local sourcing, and companies could decide that they needed more local inventories, opening new facilities and positioning finished goods stock in the different trading areas to overcome any obstacles to the movement of goods.

During the exit negotiations, international exchange rates will be sent on a roller coaster, and it is difficult to predict where they might end up. During this tumultuous period, those with supply chain insight and agility will cope best. Measures such as dual sourcing of key components and distributed manufacturing could aid in this, trading off increased flexibility and resilience against cost.

Clear visibility of the inbound supply chain will be required to correctly assess risks and determine the best strategies for mitigation. Many commentators expect the Pound Sterling to weaken against the US Dollar and the Euro, making imports of raw materials more expensive. This will disadvantage those companies with operations in the UK and could add to the case for global companies to relocate operations from the UK to the remaining EU countries.

One of the few clear results from Brexit would be a reduction in the freedom of movement in people. Many distribution operations in the UK are staffed by labour that originates from the continent, particularly within the Eastern European nations. If restrictions are placed on their ability to work in the UK a labour shortage could emerge, leading to upwards pressure on costs. This could be worsened by the progressive increase in the minimum wage in the UK to £9 an hour in 2020.

A change in the availability and cost of labour could change the site and transport cost trade-offs that lie behind the design of many supply chains, leading to fewer sites and further automation.

Investment decisions by global companies are bound to be affected as well. They will no doubt be modelling the impact of movements in costs, labour availability and trade restrictions on their supply chain before making decisions.

Over time, supply chains have become increasingly extended, inter-connected and complex. The impact of natural disasters – such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis – serve as a periodic reminder of this. The UK leaving the EU would undoubtedly be added to the list of major disruptions.

With opinion polls showing uncertain results, even so close to the referendum, UK companies involved in the global supply chain are becoming increasingly concerned with the economic implications of leaving the EU. While the results of the referendum are difficult to predict, it’s clear that if Brexit is successful there will be plenty of change, though the practicalities have proven equally difficult to predict.

The disruption could go through a series of events, with some commentators predicting it could take up to 10 years for the UK to agree on new trade accords with the EU and the rest of the world.

The ability to test scenarios to inform supply chain decisions will be vital. That makes the importance of analytics in supply chain design and planning absolutely critical, and those companies that don’t have the capability for rapid analytics could be left standing.

Fines to be Introduced for One Minute Late Trains

Waiting for a train only to find out it has been delayed is not one of the finer things in life let’s face it, but will new fines that are set to be implemented in a few years time if trains are even just one minute late improve our UK rail networks?

Currently, should a long distance train be up to ten minutes late or a commuter train be up to 5 minutes late it is still technically classed as being on time, but rail bosses have now confirmed that these current rules could be scrapped and replaced with a fresh system that will give trains just 59 seconds leeway get to the station.

The statistics show that in the past year alone 89% of trains arrived on time within the current set of rules, however only 64% would have been within the newly proposed set of guidelines allowing just one minute on top of the scheduled train time. The new rules will mean that train operators who are not operating within the strict guidelines will either face fines or have their funding docked, as well as Network Rail also potentially facing penalties if they fail to make sure train arrivals are on time, with the poor performing companies also set to be named in official figures.

Paul Plummer, who is the Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, has said, “We want our passengers to know that every minute counts, which is why we’re leading work to bring together train operators, Network Rail, passenger groups and the Government to improve how train punctuality is measured. We want to ensure our passengers have the best information to plan their journey and that they trust what we tell them about train punctuality.”

The hopes are that the new changes will be implemented from April 2019, just in time for the start of Network Rail’s new five year government funding block. So in a few years time we could see significant differences when it comes to train punctuality, with train companies likely to be under pressure to provide the most efficient service possible.

Are mega-ports out?

Ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) are continuing to make waves on land too. Analysts believe that they force ports and terminals to make investments that cannot pay off. The equation is not that simple, however, according to some experts.

Those market analysts who did not trust the mega-ships right from the start are now seeing their apprehensions for the maritime industry confirmed by the newest reports. At the ­latest industry meeting, namely TOC ­Europe, which took place in Amsterdam at the end of June, Lars Jen­sen, of Sea Intelligence Consulting, illustrated that the crisis for shipping lines may just have been the beginning.

Investments and miscalculations

The thesis propagated by Jensen is as simple as it is logical. The growing number of ultra-large container vessels (­ULCVs) with capacities to carry between 18,000 and 21,000 teu is soon set to constitute the core of the global shipping fleet. By the year 2025 it will be managed by a mere six to eight shipping lines or alliances. Terminals, which have no choice but to enter the race for size and rapid turnaround times, may face a few nasty surprises.

“I’m afraid that some terminals will ­suffer catastrophic economic failure over the coming few years,” Jensen said, as “glo­bal carriers will only call at certain select hubs in the future.” Such de­ve­lopments would make ­every other port one of the game’s losers, as they would have worked on the expansion of their infra­structure to be able to welcome mega-ships for ­nothing.

Gazing into the crystal ball

Jensen’s hypothesis is not all that new. It was first propounded when mega-ships initially started to appear in the market, and was widely discussed in the ITF and the OECD, amongst many other institutions, two years ago. Numerous ports are run at a very tidy profit today, as Drewry’s Neil Davidson also reminded his audi­ence at TOC Europe. An extra­polation of de­ve­lopments to 2025 is risky, of course, what with the Hanjin bank­ruptcy just one year old. And what will we do if volumes suddenly start growing strongly again on ­account of a boom?

source [ International Transport Journal ]