ITALIAN TRANSPORT: HOW TO BOOST COMPETITIVENESS
The Government and road transport Associations have signed a strategic agreement on the future of the entire sector
Forecasts for year-end figures look positive. Government and road transport associations have signed a strategic agreement for the future of the entire industry. Increasing the competitiveness of Italian companies remains a hot topic, with structural resources allocated to the sector, including investments for the purchase of heavy Euro VI vehicles, not to mention the all important environmental awareness. Furthermore, incentives for the use of motorways of the sea and rail transport of goods are sorely needed to implement an efficient multimodal transport system.
In order to boost competitiveness the government plans to act through the refinancing of the Guarantee Fund for SMEs, with a reduction in labor costs, the reevaluation of undocumented expenses and the introduction of instruments to control and limit cabotage practices.
On the environmental front, the structural resources allocated to the sector must be consolidated, including investments for the purchase of heavy duty Euro VI vehicles, excluding at the same time, the refund of excise duties on diesel for the more polluting vehicles, Euro 2 class for example, so as to recover resources for other areas of intervention and setting up a fund for interest rate subsidies to stimulate the purchase of new generation vehicles, able to better respond to European dictates on environmental requirements.
"The measures to control cabotage, encourage and promote multimodal transport systems and implement labor costs reduction, are very important at this time because it will enable Italian transport companies to compete with the other European countries, as well as others elements of the agreement which will determine favorable conditions for increasing the competitiveness of trucking and logistics companies ".
This is what Thomas Baumgartner, Anita’s president, said immediately after the signing of the agreement between the Government and transport associations outlining future policies for the trucking industry, which are part of a package of laws to be presented in the Budget Bill called “Stability Law” for 2016 .
"We are pleased with the Ministry’s commitment - added Baumgartner - the signals are positive, signs of awareness about the importance of the sector. The measures included in the agreement will undoubtedly play an important part in the economic recovery of the country and the repositioning of the sector on international markets".
The positions are rather varied though, since Confartigianato Trasporti views the agreement quite positively but believes there are some points that need further consideration: "First of all - states the president Amedeo Genedani - we believe the proposals presented to us by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Bonaretti and the Undersecretary Del Basso De Caro can be welcomed for several reasons: the 250 million per year for the sector, including investments for purchasing Euro 6 vehicles, the 15 million refinancing of the special Road transport Section from the Guarantee Fund, as requested immediately after the depletion of these resources, not to mention incentives such as "Marebonus" and "ferrobonus", just to name a few, are all going in the direction we hoped for, making it possible to replace old transport vehicles thus ensuring greater road safety and environmental protection.
A further positive aspect relates to the preservation, until 2018, of the reduction in excise duty for Euro 3 vehicles although we would have liked, as repeatedly stated during our meetings with the Government a more "gradual" elimination of the benefits for Euro 2 vehicles. In fact this cannot be done overnight, without recognizing some operating margins that can facilitate investments in newer, safer and ‘cleaner’ vehicles".
However, according to Confartigianato, clear rules for regulating timely payment and strong actions against irregular cabotage and social dumping, are still missing.
"We urge the Government to make additional efforts - concludes Genedani - in order to ensure greater competitiveness to our companies, which requires an additional, but vital step forward in protecting the national road transport sector. Incentives and regulations must always proceed side by side".
New on-board obligations for road safety
Another step in terms of road safety in all EU countries, since Regulation 661/2009 makes the AEBS systems mandatory on newly registered vehicles with a total mass exceeding 8 tonnes, air suspensions and two or three axles.
Since November 1, 2015 in fact, vehicles, with a mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, must be equipped with a Lane Departure Warning system, and vehicles over 8 tonnes with air suspension must have an Advanced Emergency Braking System. All this under the aforementioned European Regulation.
So far these safety systems, also known as (AEBS), have been proposed as accessories to be installed on demand. Now the European Union will provide them as standard equipment, since statistics show that the majority of accidents involving heavy vehicles are rear-end collisions.
For sometimes now, the industry has been providing radar based electronic systems that measure the distance from the vehicle ahead and, if this is reduced to the point of generating a collision, warn the driver, or slow the vehicle down braking automatically. A second safety equipment which becomes mandatory is the Lane Departure Warning System.
An active safety system which monitors the markings present on the lane: if a vehicle leaves the lane for a driver’s distraction, this device, by means of a camera that detects the position of lane markings, alerts the driver with an alarm or a vibration of the steering wheel.
There are primarily two types of Lane Departure Warning Systems: the first merely warns the driver with a visual signal, an alarm or vibration; the second (called Lane Keeping System) in addition to alerting the driver, if the latter does not take immediate action, the system automatically corrects the driving line. From 2018 the AEBS will be compulsory on all commercial vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, regardless of the number of axles and suspension types.
Pallet Exchange: a cost for the entire chain
On the Italian consumer goods market, about 60 million pallets for transportation and distribution of goods are used every year, and their constant exchange between carriers, shippers and logistics operators creates an annual cost of 120 million Euros for the whole supply chain. Something often considered a standard operation is fast becoming an economic burden for the entire sector.
These figures are the result of a study by Ecr Italia, an association that groups 35 thousand manufacturing and distribution companies operating in the consumer goods market, made in conjunction with the C-Log of the LIUC Cattaneo University and the Polytechnic of Milan.
The survey has analyzed the most relevant cost items to determine the overall pallets exchange costs. The research involved twelve companies - four major distributors, eight producers and their logistics operators - and enabled to highlight the six major cost items which determine the overall exchange costs, as the sum of the overall exchange costs between producers and distributors.
Adding together the average estimates surveyed among both the retail and manufacturing companies, what emerges is an average management cost per item of just over 2 euro / pallet. The value of the 120 million per year therefore emerges from multiplying these 2 euro by 60 million pallets used by consumer goods companies.