14 Jan The answer to road congestion is awareness and flexibility
From A to B
Although modernisation is sweeping through the transport sector, the nature of the activities has not or barely changed at all. ‘We still send lorries from A to B. It’s true that we’ve made progress on the technical front, but the basic principle of the lorry as a means of transport has not changed to this day. Every day we read about initiatives that claim to remove hundreds or thousands of lorries from the road, but I don’t see that at all while on the road. Things will need to change soon as there’s simply too much traffic on the road at present.’
The current situation will certainly affect the sector. Traffic jams are disastrous both for profitability and the deployment of lorries. In fact, missed deadlines are an everyday problem. ‘Force majeure? Only a few customers understand this problem. Transport partners have to allow for this, although that’s easier said than done. I fear that the traffic jams will only get worse in the coming years’, said Walter Drossaert.
‘For some years now, a kilometre levy has been implemented in Belgium. As it’s only at the Belgian level, it’s not uniform. However, we’ve seen a new phenomenon emerge, namely, transport companies’ costing is increasingly taking into account costs incurred due to traffic congestion.’
The search for more sustainable alternatives is urgent. Night work is a partial solution. And, there are an increasing number of experiments with technological innovation, such as self-driving lorries and platooning. This is where one lorry is steered by a single driver at the front of a convoy of digitally connected lorries. The fact that lorries are now a subject of research as a means of transport is a positive development. I’m hopeful about what is still to come. And, as a transport logistics company, we would like to contribute to a sustainable and environmentally friendly future for the sector.’
The green light
For some time now, Vedrova has resolutely given the green light only to lorries with the most environmentally-friendly engines. In addition, the transport logistics company tries as much as possible to limit the number of kilometres driven and to optimise the amount of load so that no ‘air’ is transported. However, finding affordable and primarily greener alternatives continues to be difficult. Multimodal freight transport is a possible way forward, but this always results in slower transportation. For many customers, the speed of delivery continues to be more important than sustainability.
Finally, Walter Drossaert also noted that there is a unique trend on the regulations front. ‘In Europe, the principle of free movement of people, goods, and services has applied for some time now. This is very positive, but we note that this is being scaled back. A type of customs system is being introduced anew in certain countries. It’s a digital variant where the goods to be imported, lorry, and destination must be entered. Previously, this occurred at the border. Now it occurs in advance. If you don’t do it, you can’t go any further. At Vedrova, we continuously monitor these developments and trends and try to respond quickly so that we can deal with the above challenges as efficiently as possible. I’m really curious about what will unfold in the coming years.’