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LUXEMBOURG, GD: April 20, 2018. Luxembourg and the Netherlands have followed Spain and France in accepting the shipper’s electronic consignment document (e-CMR) for cross-border road transport.

Luxembourg secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Camille Gira, signed the first e-CMR during the country’s annual Supply Chain Day on April 19 to enable local trucker Arthur Welter carry air cargo shipments on behalf of Cargolux to Amsterdam, Schiphol.

Arthur Welter“By using electronic consignment notes, logistics companies and their customers can significantly reduce administrative and environmental costs that relate to the 400 million e-CMR that are issued on an annual basis within the European Community,” declared Gira (middle of picture).

“In practice 166,000 trees, 15,000 pallets and 600 trucks of paper CMR can [also] be saved. Assuming €4.50 for each e-CMR, this would mean an efficiency gain of €1.8 billion for the European Union,” he continued.

According to Patrick Silverio, LuxairCargo’s manager Special Services, his company handled 200,000 CMRs last year that had to be signed, stamped and archived - a time-consuming exercise that will be “highly reduced” now.

“In practice transport orders are received from our customers in a digital data format and transmitted to the driver,” noted René Gloden, Arthur Welter Chief Administration Officer: “Consignor, driver and consignees use their smart phones for secure digital signatures. The e-CMR solution of DashDoc, currently establishing its office in Luxembourg, stores all data in a central database that can [now] be accessed by each party.”

Arthur Welter was founded in 1962 and operates a fleet of 350 trucks throughout Europe plus 65 nationally. It remains the only sizeable Luxembourg trucking company that is family-owned.

Malik Zeniti, director of the country’s Cluster for Logistics association added: “This is an important step for the Luxembourg hub allowing a stronger data integration of records driving digitization in the transport and supply chain sector. It positions the Benelux at the head of Europe facilitating movements of goods with electronic consignment notes thus accelerating their acceptance throughout Europe.”

More information: Cluster for Logistics

AMSTERDAM: April 12, 2018. A survey of European road haulage operators by the world transport organization IRU says 50 percent of respondents think their top challenge of paper management will be resolved by digitization.

IRI World CongressAccording to the IRU, 65 percent of operators are looking to invest in technology over the next six months to improve their day-to-day operations while 38 percent plan to invest in new fleet management solutions, and 25 percent in electronic or digitized documentation.

Asked what would be the most important changes to impact their businesses over the next 5-10 years, 40 percent cited autonomous vehicles, 26 percent digital service platforms and new transport providers, while only 20 percent said drones would have a significant effect.

“What we are witnessing today is an industry predominantly looking to use technology to solve basic operational challenges, such as moving to digital documentation and improving traceability, security and efficiency,” said IRU Global Innovation lead Zeljko Jeftic.

For 28 percent of survey respondents, digital is seen as a way to overcome the industry’s shortage of drivers although 32 percent do not believe driverless trucks will resolve the issue.

Founded in 1948, the IRU created the TIR trade facilitation convention for the cross-border transport of goods. IRU has members and activities in more than 100 countries. However only 133 operators responded to the survey conducted in March and April this year.

Together with the Oman Ministry of Transport & Communications, the IRU will hold its World Congress in Muscat, November 6-8 this year. More information: https://www.iruworldcongress.com/


WAYMOATLANTA: March 09, 2018. Waymo, the technology company that is part of Google, is introducing a pilot program in Atlanta next week for self-driving trucks to deliver shipments for Google’s data centers.

The company plans to apply its technology to shippers’ operations including factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals.

In addition to a “highly-trained” driver in the cab, the self-driving trucks are using the same suite of custom-built sensors that power Waymo’s minivan that has enabled it to go fully driverless in Arizona.

Over the past year, Waymo has been conducting road tests in California and Arizona in order to apply self-driving to drive big rigs with the equivalent AI maturity as an experienced human driver.

“The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer,” said the company.

Waymo has already driven five million miles on public roads in the U.S. – adding to the five billion driven in simulation: “In short, our near-decade of experience with passenger vehicles has given us a head start in trucking,” it added.

BONN: November 29, 2017. DHL Supply Chain has announced an order for 10 Tesla Electric Class 8 Semi tractors for delivery in 2019.

The company said it would operate the vehicles in the U.S. for shuttle and same-day customer deliveries, as well as to test mileage efficiency between DHL operations in major markets across the country.

"At DHL Supply Chain, we're always thinking beyond today's shipment – whether that be thinking about tomorrow, next month or two years from now when these trucks become available," said Jim Monkmeyer, president of Transportation at DHL Supply Chain North America.

Tesla SemiWith a driver shortage that could reach 100,000 in 2020 according to the American Trucking Association, DHL Supply Chain also plans to evaluate the trucks' impact on a driver's quality of life and job satisfaction.

"Factors like comfort and time on the road play a large role in driver job satisfaction," explained Monkmeyer. "While we always try to optimize transportation routes to allow our drivers to be home same-day, we're also excited about the potential to bring our drivers the comfort and safety benefits that the Tesla Class 8 truck could offer."

According to Tesla, the base price for its electric-powered Semi tractor with a 300-mile or 500-mile range is expected to be US$150,000 and US$180,000 respectively

To reserve a vehicle the price is now US$20,000 - up from the introductory offer of $5,000 - and the Tesla web site lists its 'Founders Series Price' of US$200,000 for the first 1,000 vehicles built and guaranteed not to break down for 1,000,000 miles, according to CEO Elon Musk.

Unlike Walmart and J.B. Hunt that announced on November 17 "multiple deposits" at US$5,000 each for the vehicles, DHL Supply Chain says it has "ordered" 10 tractors at a potential cost of US$2 million.

Deutsche Post DHL has long been a proponent of green logistics and says it now plans to be a "driver of electromobility" in order to become the first in the industry to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050.

The group already has 5,000 StreetScooter e-vehicles - developed and manufactured in-house - plus 10,500 e-bikes and e-trikes, that together make up the largest electric transport fleet in Germany. The company says it will replace its entire mail and parcel delivery fleet with electric vehicles that are charged with electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

STOCKHOLM: April 6, 2017. Swedish technology designer Einride has created an electric, self-driving “cargo with wheels” vehicle called a ‘T-pod’ that can be remotely controlled by a driver.

Set for prototype testing this year, the company said its new vehicle has a cargo capacity of 15 standard pallets, a total weight of 20 tons, a length of 23 feet and a range of 124 miles on one charge.

EinrideThe T-pods are intended to replace “heavy, noisy trucks with monstrous emissions and bad working conditions to emission-free, noise reduced trucks that allow workers to operate on a standard schedule closer to home,” according to a statement.

Einride said it will begin operations between Gothenburg and Helsingborg, Sweden and the first active system will cover a capacity of 2,000,000 pallets per year. The company goal is to operate 200 T-pods by 2020.

The Swedish company is also developing a remote driving system, charging stations and a relevant infrastructure: “Einride is transforming the existing transport chain from the ground up, “ said COO Filip Lilja.

“The big companies behind long haul trucks keep building bigger trucks to increase efficiency, which ultimately means even more emissions. We are changing that by creating a secure solution that is, not only cost effective, but dramatically minimizes the negative environmental impact of the transportation industry.”

Einride claims its system benefits the environment, improves road safety, creates new jobs and provides more cost-efficient transport for shippers.

Einride founder and CEO Robert Falck (pictured, right) said his vision is to enhance the lives of all people through the delivery of a global, impact-positive supply chain infrastructure: “We don’t believe our work is done when we’ve achieved carbon neutrality,” he explained.

“Our design process is driven by our goal to have a net positive impact – whether that’s improving the lives of transport workers or reducing road traffic accidents, every element of our system aims to have a measurable positive impact on the planet.”

LONDON: November 14, 2017. UK law firm Collyer Bristow has established a £100 million class action for truck operators that may have been overcharged by members of a pan-European price fixing cartel.

DAF 2005 1In a July 2016 ruling, the European Commission (EC) fined truck manufacturers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler (Mercedes), Iveco and DAF a total of €2.93 billion for unlawfully coordinated prices, the timing of the introduction of Euro III to Euro VI emission technologies, and passing the costs on to their customers.

Two months later the EC fined Scania €880 million for participating in the cartel that ran from at least 1997 to 2011 and covered new trucks ranging in size from six to over 16 tonnes.

According to Collyer Bristow any hauliers, retailer, manufacturer, construction firm or courier company operating in the European Economic Area that suffered financially as a result of the cartel is entitled to compensation.

"Firms that acquired new medium or heavy-duty trucks between 1997 and 2011 almost certainly have a case for compensation, whether they bought the trucks outright, on hire purchase, or leased them directly from a manufacturer or from a supplier," said the company's head of Competition Law Stephen Critchley.

"As well as fixing prices, the truck cartel conspired on the timing of new emissions technologies, so it is possible that fleet owners and users incurred extra running costs, too. The compensation claims could run to billions of pounds," he added.

Collyer Bristow said it would be paid based on the outcome of the litigation and by funds provided by Vannin Capital that would also take a share of individual claimants' eventual compensation.

HAMBURG: March 24, 2017. As PwC releases a report suggesting 950,000 jobs will be lost in the UK transport sector from the use of artificial intelligence (AI), German truck and load matchmaker Cargonexx says its self-learning technology has made it "the biggest and fastest growing transportation start-up in Europe".

German gigalinerThe company says because its AI technology predicts spot market prices for individual loadings within milliseconds, 1,700 carriers have signed up to its network in the first four months of operation.

The network is free to truckers as the company says it makes money on the margin between buying and selling the shipment and the capacity.

"Our target group are not the small shippers, but the middle-sized and big freight forwarders," explained co-founder and CEO Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz. "Cargonexx makes their life much easier and cheaper. This is why they want us to grow."

Together with his co-founder Andreas Karansas the two men believe data intelligence is the future of transportation: "The spot market is the first step," according to Karansas. "The neural network is learning from historic and current freight data and improves its accuracy every day. Soon it will not only be able to predict prices, but also transportation volumes, regional peaks and shortages."

Cargonexx launched its service Germany last year and expects to expand into neighboring Poland, Austria and the Netherlands. "We are the first transportation company with an artificial intelligence technology in Europe," claimed Lafrenz. "With our data intelligence we will be able to offer many new smart services to shippers, freight forwarders and carriers, and we are willing to extend this competitive advantage as fast as possible."

MUSCAT: May 17, 2017. The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is to support the Oman Global Logistics Group (OGLG) in developing Oman as a major logistics hub.

The IRU and OGLG have agreed to implement the U.N. TIR Convention as well as develop training and professional certification for commercial road transport and the digitalization of logistics systems.

IRU and OmanIRU secretary general Umberto de Pretto commented: "IRU is extremely pleased to be working together with OGLG to help transform the potential of road transport in Oman, bringing our nearly 70 years of experience and our global network to the endeavor."

The IRU said the agreement with OGLG is aimed at improving the country's soft infrastructure, particularly the regulatory environment, as Oman's strategic location "suggests huge potential for trade acceleration".

Oman's Nabil Al Bimani, executive director for Oman's National Logistics Strategy explained: "In cooperation with IRU, we aim to encourage and facilitate road transport, simplifying regulations and practices related to the movement of goods along domestic and international routes."

OGLG said the agreement also sets out a road map for adopting professional qualifications for drivers and managers - such as those provided by IRU Academy – and reinforces Oman's intention to adopt international Customs transit standards.

IRU was founded in 1948 in Geneva to help post-war Europe rebuild its trade and commercial links and began developing the TIR Convention in 1949.

Last year China ratified the Convention and is now able to export goods to the European Union and Turkey under a single, simplified transit procedure.

Pictured signing the IRU agreement left to right: Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi, Oman minister of Transport & Communications, and Tim Davies, IRU head of Global Expansion.

BERLIN: January 05, 2017. Despite opposition from Germany's Environment Ministry, federal minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt has approved the introduction of so-called 'Gigaliners' on the country's major highways from January 01 this year.

The truck/trailer combinations are 25.25 meters in length, some 6.5 meters more than conventional trucks, and have been the subject of a five-year study that Dobrindt thinks shows the trucks can save emissions by 25 percent.

German GigalinersIn a statement in December Dobrindt concluded: "It is safe, saves fuel and will lead neither to the shifting of traffic to the road, nor to a heavier burden on our infrastructure. Two long-trucks replace three conventional trucks. And fewer vehicles mean fewer emissions."

His view is not shared by the country's Pro Rail Alliance that says it is considering a lawsuit: "We are looking at taking legal action against transport minister Alexander Dobrindt's unilateral decision to allow regular operations," declared Dirk Flege, managing director of the lobby group that has thrown its support behind Germany's Environment Ministry.

On January 02 federal Environment head Jochen Flasbarth said Dobrindt's order was "not voted on by the government, and is a mistake in terms of environmental and transport policy." Flasbarth added that more time was needed to determine whether the new two-vehicle trucks would encourage a switch from rail to road with a consequential increase in emissions.

The Pro Rail Alliance claims any switch would damage the environment, lead to an increase in truck traffic that would "disproportionally damage the already ailing road infrastructure", and be dangerous to car drivers.

Flege noted: "When the permanent secretary of state in the federal environment ministry openly says that the federal transport minister's decision to allow regular operations has created 'facts on the ground' that are not compatible with EU regulations, that is a very serious accusation indeed.

"The so-called Gigaliners are bad news for climate protection, expensive for taxpayers and dangerous for all road users," he said.

The Pro Rail Alliance includes 23 non-profit organizations representing two million individual members of environmental groups, unions, trade associations and consumer organizations, including two automobile clubs.

WASHINGTON, DC: April 07, 2017. Testifying before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security this week, FedEx Freight president and CEO Michael Ducker said the American Society of Civil Engineers ranked the condition of U.S. roads 19th in the world - worse than Namibia.

According to the World Bank, Namibia's GDP was US$11.49 billion in 2015. By comparison, U.S. GDP in the same year was US$18.03 trillion.

Noting more than 40 percent of major U.S. highways in urban areas are congested, Ducker said without improved surface infrastructure and "wise policy decisions" from Washington, FedEx and other companies could not continue to help grow the U.S. economy and increase jobs.

FedEx Ducker Senate hearing Citing government statistics, he said the U.S. transported 18.1 billion tons of goods in 2015, worth US$19.2 trillion, with 70 percent of all domestic freight moved by truck – 10.5 billion tons.

Ducker called for the establishment of a "holistic modern transportation system" combining physical and digital infrastructure enhancements with sound transportation policies, including incentives for improved safety and fuel efficiency – all underwritten by "stable and sustainable sources of funding" for the Highway Trust Fund.

Together with the American Trucking Associations, FedEx says it supports federal investment in highways, primarily funded by user fees. The trucking industry – which currently pays more than 40 percent of federal highway user fee revenue – supports an increase if there is a perceived value in the form of road and bridge improvements.

Ducker said the sources of revenue should be easy and inexpensive to pay and collect; have a low evasion rate; be tied to highway use; and avoid creating impediments to interstate commerce.

FedEx is part of Americans for Modern Transportation (AMT), a diverse group of shippers, deliverers, and retailers working to improve transportation infrastructure and policy.

AMT supports increasing the national standard for twin trailers from 28 feet to 33 feet that would allow a carrier to increase the volume carried up to 18.6 percent before having to add incremental trips.

Ducker said a 2015 U.S. Department of Transportation study had shown that if the standard had been adopted in 2014, it could have already resulted in three billion fewer miles traveled, saved US$2.6 billion dollars in LTL costs, and provided congestion-relief savings for all motorists of nearly US$1 billon.

"Fewer trucks on the road also means significant saving on fuel and emissions," he added. "By increasing the length of twin trailers by just five feet, fuel consumption is reduced by 255 million gallons every year, with a concomitant annual reduction of 2.9 million tons of CO2 emissions."

MILAN: November 08, 2016. Air cargo handler and trucking company Alha Group has had 35 of its vehicles certified by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA).

Based at Milan Malpensa, Alha operates 130 trucks equipped with advanced security including live monitoring, geo-localization and geo-fencing systems, and handles more than 350,000 tonnes of air cargo a year - 65 percent of the airport's throughput.

Alha GroupAlha says it is the only EMEA region air cargo handler holding three TAPA Certifications: TAPA Air Cargo Security Standards (TACSS), Facility Security Requirement (FSR), and Transport Security Requirement (TSR).

"TAPA TSR certification shows Alha commitment to guarantee the transported goods' security," said CEO Lorenzo Schettini Gherardini. "We are very pleased to have achieved this recognition because it rewards our efforts and allows us to offer an excellent service to our customers."

The certification follows TAPA's presentation of a truck park plan to the European Commission's expert group on land transport security, in a bid to minimize losses from supply chains in the EMEA region.

TAPA said 86 percent of all recorded cargo crimes last year involved trucks, and 57 percent were from unsecured parking locations.

The association said the aim of its proposal is to identify secure parking places through certification, partnership and mutual recognition. An online tool will soon be available for its Manufacturer and Logistics Service Provider members incorporating a route planner, secure parking locator, site information and contact details, plus the locations of previous cargo crimes reported to TAPA on the routes companies are planning to use.

Jason Breakwell, vice chairman of TAPA EMEA commented: "The challenges facing transport operators in our region cannot be ignored. Cargo crime is not going away. We expect this to be the worst year for recorded freight thefts in over five years in the EMEA region."

He added that in Europe 75 percent of all products, some 18 billion tonnes, are delivered by truck every year. "That means there is tremendous growth potential for parking operators that respond to the call for greater security from their potential customers."

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