Freight market revamped by high investments
The fact that the automotive industry is the driving force behind the current economic recovery is well known. The car industry is scoring big figures but according to recent data, it is now being followed also by the transport sector. Just a few interesting figures: recent ANFIA data show that the market for trailers and semi-trailers grew by 54,3% in 2015 recording nearly 10.600 new registrations, though still a far cry compared to 2007 volumes (17.800).
Nothing spectacular, true, but coming after a heavy fall curve which involved the production of transport vehicles.
Well worth mentioning are also the large investments made by several manufacturers in new and innovative systems aimed at improving vehicle performance in terms of environmental impact as well as active and passive safety, following the most recent, and stringent, regulations. That is why, from a strictly economic point of view, “if transport companies are to regain competitiveness, national transport fleet renewal schemes are sorely needed” – as explained by Giordano Giorda, Director of ANFIA.
Among the factors that could play an important part in this context, the use of industrial vehicles with alternative fuels, such as CNG (compressed natural gas) or LNG (liquid natural gas) should not be overlooked, all the more so as this specific segment is already a well-established reality in our country.
The Italian Government is, in fact, committed to adopting a series of initiatives aimed at developing the infrastructure for alternative fuels across the country, also in view of the EU Directive 2014/94/UE, also known as DAFI Directive, which requires Member States to follow the Commission national plans for minimum levels of infrastructure – re-fuelling and re-charging stations - for alternative fuels.
Still according to Giorda “the actions undertaken in recent years, with a number of Decrees aimed at investing on new vehicles – the last dates back to the 4th of November 2015 – must be consolidated in order to encourage the purchasing or leasing of heavy duty transport vehicles with new innovative features as far as safety and environmental performance are concerned, such as ' alternative ' fuels ( CNG or LNG) and innovative on-board devices, aimed at promoting maritime and rail inter-modality”.
Furthermore, additional measures such as an extension of the Guarantee Fund for SME as well as facilitating access to credit, to support investments made by companies and consortiums alike within the automotive sector, as provided in a Decree issued in December 2015, would prove useful in supporting companies using industrial vehicles, finding it easier to access credit when having to renew vehicles.
Finally, the current scenario shows a slight 0,4% increase in road freight traffic within the European Union compared to 2013, with 1.700 billion tons-km moved by the road freight sector alone, which, despite being substantially stable compared to other transport modes, still suffered a market share loss of 10,4% in terms of tons-km in the last decade.