Efficient trucking a growth enabler: IRU/World Bank

Encompasses the whole value chain

The IRU/World Bank road freight transport services reform document shows how efficient trucking facilitates trade, reduces poverty and generates prosperity.

Key conclusions highlight the importance of the driver, condition of vehicles, technical inspections, and business-enabling regulation.

The successful collaboration between 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, sustainability and efficient trucking.

“The goal is to foster transparent regulatory environments in which start-up and established carriers can both grow and professionalize their operations, improving safety, sustainability, resilience, and competition,” says IRU secretary general, Umberto de Pretto.

Offering a complete framework – from an evaluation of the existing systems through to implementation of change – the guide demonstrates how to analyze data to identify areas of focus and then outlines how to structure a detailed action plan.

“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,” explains Jose Luis Irigoyen, senior director, transport and ICT Global Practice, the World Bank Group.

“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 5% 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 recognized 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 bring about efficient trucking.

Since the mid-1970s, average fuel consumption has decreased by 40% from 50 litres per 100 kilometres to 30 litres per 100 kilometres in 2008. Formalized operations, modernized 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%. 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.

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