Demand for Transport and Production Systems ? Shipper Surveys in France in 1988 and 2004

Demand for Transport and Production Systems ? Shipper Surveys in France in 1988 and 2004


M Guilbault, M Soppé, INRETS-SPLOT, FR


The paper presents two French national surveys (1988 and 2004) which provide original data allowing the analyse of the relation between logistics determinants of the production and transports.


Freight transport is closely linked with industrial and trade activities; it constitutes a by-product or even a fully integrated element of the production process. It is acknowledged that the characteristics of transported commodities are important but not the only parameters that determine the choice of the transport solution. Production and logistics constraints play an equally important role in this respect. The analysis of transport demand and shippers? practices is a useful approach for understanding of transport sector and its evolution.

However, there are very few statistical data allowing the analyse of the relation between transports and its production- and logistics-related determinants. For this reason two large national surveys have been conducted in France over the last two decades and provide us with original empirical data.

Our paper will present the main methodological aspects of the two surveys (Shipper 1988 Survey and ECHO 2004 Survey). The use of the ?shipment » as measurement unit instead of the usual ton or ton-kilometer approach is the major innovation of these surveys and provide a novel statistical insight. We have identified a large diversity of traffic generation profiles, both in tons or shipment units, specific to each economic sector. The shipment unit appears as a useful complementary unit and a realistic logistics indicator.

Another particularity of these surveys is the complete door-to-door tracking of each shipment alongside the transport chain, whereby each segment and operator - shipper, consignee, carrier and ancillary transport operator involved in the shipment and its intervention can be identified. Shippers do not always know how their shipments are carried, so each operator had been inquired of details about his precise role whithin the chain for each sampled shipment. This methodological option enables the description of the whole transport chain, both from a physical and organizational point of view.

We will show the main thematic research fields covered by the collected data. A selection of results, indicators and trends has been obtained by the comparison of the two datasets. It will be presented with a focus on the main evolutions over the last fifteen years. The diversity of logistics organizations found between the plants, within and between various economic sectors, brings a better understanding of what shippers? logistics ans production constraints are and how they impact transport chains. A specific attention will be paid to increasing fragmentation of traffic flows, dispersed both ?in space? and ?in time?. Such trend reduces even more the shipper?s possibility of choosing non road transport modes.


Association for European Transport