A report commissioned by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the World Bank shows how efficient trucking facilitates trade, reduces poverty and generates prosperity.
Key conclusions in the IRU/World Bank Road Freight Transport Services Reform report highlight the importance of the driver, condition of vehicles, technical inspections and business-enabling regulation.
The successful collaboration between the IRU and the World Bank Group has resulted in the first ever guide to improve quality and competition, based on practical examples of regulatory reform in other countries.
It is aimed at governments and policy-makers in emerging and developing economies – where mobility of cargo is almost entirely dependent on the road transport sector.
Typical performance gaps include high costs, reduced profitability, lack of road safety, environmental concerns, bureaucracy and corruption. Regulated carriers are often required to compete against informal operators outside of regulatory frameworks. Changing this scenario to establish a level playing field improves transparency, safety and sustainability.
IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto said: “The goal is to foster transparent regulatory environments in which start-up and established carriers can both grow and professionalise their operations, improving safety, sustainability, resilience and competition.”
Offering a complete framework – from an evaluation of the existing systems through to implementation of change – the guide demonstrates how to analyse data to identify areas of focus and then outlines how to structure a detailed action plan.
Jose Luis Irigoyen, Senior Director, Transport and ICT Global Practice, the World Bank Group commented: “The billions invested in road infrastructure will only yield their full potential for economic growth and job creation if logistics services are operating efficiently along these roads. This guide provides a set of principles to help policymakers and practitioners assess the different challenges in road transport, and select a reform path most suited to a country’s stage of economic development and its institutional capacity.”
Professional training is highlighted in view of key findings, which show employment in road transport services reaching up to five percent of the total and a recent study in East Africa, which found that there were 1.2 jobs for each truck on the road. Establishing qualifications frameworks and delivering internationally recognised training promotes eco-driving techniques and leads to fewer crashes and fines, lower fuel consumption and less vehicle maintenance.
In parallel, fleet renewal incentives and vehicle inspections can radically change performance. Since the mid-1970s, average fuel consumption has decreased by 40 percent from 50 litres per 100 kilometres to 30 litres per 100 kilometres in 2008. Formalised operations, modernised freight tracking and communications systems also help to streamline the industry.
An example of deregulation of the industry in Mexico in 1989 showed a decline in the cost of commodity distribution by 25 percent. The case study reinforces the need for the creation of a business-enabling environment for the development of a safe, reliable but competitive road transport industry.