GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - EQS - 5 November 2018 -
- In the face of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, technology-driven
innovation will be key to meeting the challenges of tomorrow in the road
transport sector, according to a survey published today by IRU.
- This topic will top the agenda of the IRU World Congress, a new global event for transport, logistics and
mobility which is opening this week in Muscat, Oman.
The global snapshot survey is based
on interview data from 450 transport companies across Europe, the GCC and Asia,
and reveals the following headline findings:
- Majority of
transport companies in Europe, Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries
(57%) view geopolitical uncertainty as the biggest threat to their development.
- Technology and
innovation key to overcoming challenges and securing the future of the industry
-- over three quarters (76%) of transport companies surveyed expect autonomous
trucks to become a
viable option on the roads within the next decade.
- At the opening of
its World Congress in Oman, IRU, the world road transport organisation, urges
the industry to fix the digital foundations of transport in order to fully benefit
from automation and other innovations.
Findings reveal that transport companies are concerned about macro
global issues. Over half (57%) see geopolitical uncertainty as the biggest threat
facing the sector -- from escalating international trade wars to growing
concerns around Brexit. The risk of global recession and the challenge of
keeping up with changing customer demand are jointly seen as the second biggest
threats to transport companies at 52%.
Umberto de Pretto, IRU's Secretary General,
commented: "The global transport system
touches the lives of each of the planet's seven billion people, from the food
we eat to the consumer goods we buy. So it's perhaps not surprising that many
of the issues facing society today are also considered by transport companies
to be their biggest challenges. These include some of the main themes that
dominate the international agenda, including geopolitics, trade and the
Tech to provide a safe, successful,
Transport companies recognise that developments in technology and
innovation will be key to building a safe, successful and sustainable industry
in the future. One in three (33%) transport
companies across every region believe that improving safety will be the biggest
innovation opportunity, while one in five cite automation.
In fact, transport companies are extremely
optimistic about the timescales for automation -- over three quarters (76%) of
transport companies expect autonomous trucks to become a viable option within the next decade;
of these, 29% believe they will be a reality on our roads in the next five
years. Transport companies believe the primary benefit of automation will be
boosting productivity (50%), followed by helping to cut costs (19%).
Breaking through the road blocks to
Barriers to adopting technology persist -- with transport companies
citing the major challenges to adopting technology driven innovation as cost
and investment (71%), followed by a limited understanding of the range of
emerging technologies available (50%).
This suggests that pockets of the industry have
yet to embrace new technologies and processes, and that there is still work to
do to fix the digital foundations of the industry before technology-driven
innovation can be optimised properly.
Gearing up for automation
while many transport companies believe autonomous trucks are just around the
corner, the reality is that there is still some way to go before they become a
safe, secure and sustainable option on our roads.
the technology itself is becoming ever more sophisticated, there is a risk that
it will be held back by the lack of necessary investment in infrastructure.
Boris Blanche, IRU's Managing Director, commented: "There is no
question that autonomous trucks will eventually be transformative for the
industry -- helping boost productivity, create efficiencies and enhance driver
working conditions. But drivers will not become obsolete any time in the
future, and in fact the industry must continue to encourage more drivers into
the profession. Proper and responsible adoption over time is required, and we
must see full cooperation from all industry stakeholders."
Umberto de Pretto, continued: "For
technology to take hold, and for the industry to truly benefit from it, we must
ensure we have the foundations in place. This means first getting the basics
right, such as full transitioning to digital documentation, improving
traceability, security and efficiency. We must work harder to join the dots
between operators, service providers, manufacturers and governments to nurture
a supportive environment for innovation and digitisation.
"We must also push for legislation and
policies that encourage all operators to invest in the technology needed to
make these innovations the norm. At IRU, our role is to champion
the potential of the industry and promote this cooperation, to empower all
operators in the sector to seize the great innovation opportunity."
Notes to editors
IRU is the world road transport organisation, promoting economic
growth, prosperity and safety through the sustainable mobility of people and
goods. Founded in 1948, IRU has members and activities in more than 100
countries. IRU conceived TIR in 1949 and continues to manage the system.
About IRU World Congress
The IRU World Congress is the new global event for transport, mobility
and logistics. It is a platform for global decision-makers to exchange ideas,
debate solutions and define the future of the road transport industry. Centred
on the themes of innovation and trade, Innovation on the Move will take place
at the new Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat, from 6 to 8
November 2018. www.iruworldcongress.com/
In collaboration with
IRU, Random SA developed a quantitative online survey to target transport
The survey was
completed by a global sample size of 450
respondents working for a transport operator, transport broker or freight
forwarder company in one of the 19 pre-selected countries covering three
geographical areas: Europe, the GCC and Asia. The research sample was
identified, recruited and surveyed independently from IRU to ensure a broad,
robust and representative picture of transport companies.
Quotas were set per
country and weighted to reach 150 respondents per region. Additional quotas
were set to reach a sample size of minimum 50% CEOs/managers from the logistic
department vs. non-managers from the logistic department.
The fieldwork took place
from end of August to mid-September 2018 and was conducted under the
supervision of Random SA, by Asia Research Partners, one of the leading Asian
independent research companies, based in India. Random SA and Asia Research
Partners are both members of ESOMAR, the leading global insights association to
certify that the highest ethical and professional standards are respected by
member research institutes. Random SA ran the analysis (SPSS) in-house based on
a statistical significance levels of 95%.
 Cooperation Council for
the Arab States of the Gulf, often shortened to the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC), in an intergovernmental organisation made up of six states in the Persian
Gulf, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Transport companies from these countries (excluding Oman) were respondents to
the IRU study.