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Road transport


The sector’s companies are a little more than 97thousand, pointing to an economic upswing

Paolo Castiglia

An increasingly complex logistics, which aims at becoming smart, i.e. providing customers with a multichannel service system able to respond to the whims and desires of even the most demanding and “omnivorous” consumer, one who buys goods using the web, retail outlets, catalogs and stores. Not to mention agile, which means quickly adaptable to changes, resilient, able to react to temporary difficulties limiting the risks for the client and finally technological, since digital technology will be essential in the future. The Contract Logistics Observatory, in collaboration with Assologistica, analyzed the Italian outsourcing market, painting a picture of the already adopted strategies and highlighting possible future developments.

What comes out is that if we take into account hauliers, couriers, warehouse managers, logistics operators, freight forwarders and freight handlers and intermodal terminals, the companies currently operating in the industry are just over 97 thousand, putting an end to the shrinking trend recorded during the worst period of the recession ( -14 percent between 2009 and 2013).

Technological and digital innovations will provide logistics with a new look, especially in terms of supply chain efficiency. Some of the sector’s largest operating companies have focused their attention on eight innovative solutions deemed as most interesting: Workflow Scheduling (goal-oriented work scheduling), load building (cost reduction), RFID (radio-frequency identification), sensors (vehicle and weights monitoring systems), dematerialization and digitization of transport documents (electronic flow and digital storage), collaborative platforms and logistics APPs.

Fast distribution process visibility tools are attracting considerable interest, such as external device applications and the consequent elimination of loads of paper, because obtaining timely information on the entire logistics chain has always been  one of the great challenges for the industry.

Other important changes were also highlighted by the research carried out by the Observatory. Last-mile distribution channels are characterized by a “greener” approach with the use of bicycles and electric vehicles, with an overall expansion of the distribution network. In fact, estimates speak of couriers opening new subsidiaries, +5% in the next four years.

Mere numbers show that in Italy revenues from third party logistics is showing no sign of slowing down and outsourcing represents 40 percent of logistics activities in the country. The industry can boast 97 thousand enterprises and thanks to the digital revolution business and financial performances are looking up.

The increased volume of goods and sales abroad, added to a timid GDP recovery, confirmed the growth of the national contract logistics sector in 2016, with sales recording a 80 billion Euro turnover, which means a 1.2 % increase (+2.6 percent in 2015 and +1.4 percent in 2014).

Recent economic and financial performances were particularly noteworthy, in fact, the average gross turnover (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of the largest operators is on the rise (from 3.5 percent to 4.3 percent) and after suffering a slight decline back in 2013, the service sector now accounts for 40 percent of all logistics activities, worth about 43.5 billion euro.



The Ministry on dispensing investments for the transport sector

Trucking companies as well as owner-drivers can combine the super-amortization policy with contributions for investment. This was evident from a letter by the Ministry of Transport that addresses several issues related to the incentives provided for innovations in the road transport sector, i.e. the purchase of natural gas powered vehicles, Euro VI vehicles after scrapping older models, intermodal trailers and containers.
Six are the issues involved: incentive effect; proof of payment; small medium enterprise qualification; possibility to accumulate with other State aids; eligible costs; concomitant banishment.

On the first point, the letter states that the words "start-up investment" mean the "first legally binding act of the aspiring beneficiary", which can be a purchase agreement, or even a direct offer or order, provided that it has binding effects. Conversely, acts by which a seller advertises products or quotes are not to be considered binding.

"In any case - explains the letter - the contract must be duly dated, signed by the owner or representative of the company and analytically bear the transaction costs that  must be found on the invoice".

When submitting the application, the beneficiaries of the contributions must demonstrate that the fee has been duly paid and the vehicle registered. In addition, they must demonstrate that the purchased vehicle has the technical characteristics required, through a declaration of the manufacturer. In case of a Euro VI vehicle, evidence on the scrapping of the old vehicle must be produced. Payment must be proved by receipt, except in the case of leasing, where the invoices of the individual lease payments must be produced until the submission of the application (or bank transfer receipts). A chapter of the Letter is devoted to the sale with reservation of ownership. Therein it states which are the characteristics of a small-medium enterprise, and their specific benefits. The Ministry refers to the EU Regulation 651/2014, according to which a medium-sized company must simultaneously satisfy two requirements: have fewer than 150 employees and generate an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro and / or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million Euro. The requirements for small business are: less than 50 employees and an annual turnover and / or annual balance sheet total not exceeding 10 million euro.

An important point made in the Letter is the possibility to combine these investment incentives with other State aids: this cannot be done under the new Sabatini Law, in relation to the same types of investments, and the same eligible costs. Conversely, investment incentives can be added to the super-amortization of 140%, because not considered as state aid.


Road transport CO2 emissions: up by 2,8%

In September, CO2 emissions resulting from the use of gasoline and diesel showed an increase of 2.8% over the same month back in 2015. Considering the first nine months of 2016, however, they were down by 0.4% compared to the same period last year. The data were processed by Continental’s Truck Research Centre, using statistics from the Ministry of Economic Development.

Returning to September’s data, the increase in CO2 emissions resulted from a growth in emissions from diesel vehicles(+ 4.3%); only partially offset by a decrease in emissions from petrol vehicles(-1.5%). The decline recorded in the first nine months of 2016 was mainly the result of a decrease in emissions from petrol vehicles (-2.3%), with a slight increase coming from diesel vehicles compared to 2015 (+ 0.2%).

"The latest data - underlines Alessandro De Martino, CEO of Continental Italia SpA – show that, after the reduction recorded until August, from September CO2 emissions increased again. The September increase followed a surge in road transport, a direct result of the economic recovery that is characterizing our national economy at the moment. If, as we all hope, this economic upswing should continue in the coming months, also CO2 emissions from diesel and petrol vehicles will likewise continue to grow".

"The negative effects of such an increase, however – concludes De Martino - can be limited, through greater attention to proper vehicle maintenance, including frequent tire pressure checks, which can directly affect fuel consumption and therefore also the level of harmful emissions".

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