Express Distribution of Palletised Freight: Development Opportunities for a New Transport Services
D Orsini, M Sallefranque, L Vaillant, Sétra, Ministry of Transport, FR
A new transport service is taking off since late 1990: express distribution services for small consignments of palletised goods. This abstract proposes an interesting insight into this newly appeared branch of the road freight transport Industry.
A new transport service is taking off since late 1990 on the freight forwarding market: express distribution services for small consignments of palletised goods. Based on the success of theses services in Britain, Belgium and Luxemburg, more and more hauliers ? however the size of them ? are settling on this emerging market. Basically, they do deliveries of groups of 1 to 6 pallet consignments for the next day or the day after, mostly within the French boundaries and sometimes beyond. This new logistics service, which requires a genuine know-how, arises as a complement to the already existing road transport services like traditional express distribution, groupage, or else full-load haulage.
The development of express distribution of palletised freight has been driven by the need from shippers to have an actual alternative to other transport services. The growth of such a service is all the more reinforced that the rate of palletised freight is getting higher. This trend is particularly noticeable for specific groups of products. For instance, between 1990 and 2005, proportion of palletised goods in chapter 9 of the NST/R classification (machinery, transport equipment, etc). has been taken from 28% to 44% in tons ? respectively, 11% and 26% for chapter 0 (agricultural products and live animals). Also, it is to note that the median loads' weight has substantially decreased over the past few years, presupposing a reduction of load sizes.
Now, shippers have sometimes difficulties in finding carriers to proceed systematically their small sized loads of palletised freight. Express distribution services is the pragmatic answer from the freight forwarding sector to this issue. Technically speaking, the global organisation is fairly similar to the express delivery. They indeed back up on existing express delivery companies networks; the main change being the loading unit. Unlike express forwarders which by definition don't ship too heavy loads ? weight scarcely going over 500kg ? freight forwarders deal with pallets of any weights. It is also noticeable that express distribution of palletised freight companies have often set up information systems for products' tracking and tracing to match their customer's expectations.
The present document proposes an interesting insight into this newly appeared branch of the road freight transport Industry. The approach has consisted in reviewing the whole of the consistent literature on this topic, focusing on the various researches and studies that had been undertaken. Moreover, SITRAM and ECHO French databases have been processed and analysed so as to get statistical characteristics of palletised freight flows in France. Last but not least, it backs up on interviews of chosen actors, more specifically: 6 shippers and 5 hauliers who have shared their respective views about this new service. It is noteworthy that professionals tend to work more and more together and put in place collaborative solutions in order to ensure a certain amount of pallet traffic. Specialized organisations owning broad logistics platforms' networks play a key role.
With the ever-increasing pressure of economic factors such as the escalation of gas-oil prices in background, this paper examines the emergence of a new service on the logistics services market. This strives to determine to which extent it actually is a development opportunity for hauliers, especially the small- and medium- sized ones which are likely to suffer the most from the gas-oil price crisis. Moreover, this study is intended to be broadly distributed within the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning departments of Transport and Logistics. It responds indeed to the Ministry constant urge to capitalize on evolutions of the road freight transport sector. Therefore, this paper stick to the following structure :
- 1st part : Statistical characteristics of palletised freight flows.
- 2nd part : Characteristics of express distribution of palletised freight
- 3rd part : Shippers demand analysis
- 4 rd part : Small and medium carriers organisation
Association for European Transport