Man, ever since he began to move around, has been looking for a way to make this movement possible for him with the least possible effort and in the shortest possible time – especially if trade in goods was involved. Initially, animals were used for transportation and the stepping stone, of course, was the invention of the wheel in Mesopotamia around 330 BC. It must have taken centuries since then for a real revolution and development to occur in transportation – the era of mechanized transportation did not occur until the 19th century, during the years of intense industrial development.
Today we can’t imagine our world without the ability to drive cars – these vehicles accompany most of us every day, it is with them that we get to work, go shopping and on vacation. It is also on these vehicles that the most important branch of modern transport is based – road transport, that is, transport in which goods and people change their location, moving on land roads.
Infrastructure related to road transport
Since it is road transport that is the most common, it is accompanied by an extremely extensive infrastructure, which everyone uses on a daily basis.
In the countries of the European Union, it is by means of road transport that 45.6% of transport work is carried out. We can divide road transport itself into national and international, according to territorial criterion, and into commercial and non-commercial, according to the criterion of economic activity.
The primary means of transport for freight are primarily vans (permissible gross vehicle weight up to 3.5 tons) and trucks.
The importance of the transport fleet
So, for an entrepreneur whose business is based on providing transportation services, the most important working tool is the fleet of vehicles at his disposal. We know very well how much time, energy and financial resources it costs us to maintain our own passenger cars, so it is not difficult to imagine how labor-intensive it is to keep dozens or hundreds of trucks in perfect condition, each week covering thousands of kilometers.
Requirements for vehicles in the transport fleet
To be able to hit the road, a vehicle must meet a number of stringent requirements and pass technical and diagnostic tests and examinations. It must also be equipped with a speed limiter, a tachograph for recording the driver’s working hours and have manufacturer’s approval. Of course, the issue of regular maintenance, servicing and keeping the vehicle clean are basic activities that cannot be neglected.
Mandatory equipment for a truck is a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, two triangles, and tools related to securing goods, namely spreader bars, transport belts, protective angles and anti-slip mats. The driver must also not forget the necessary documents for the route: registration certificate, insurance, certificates related to compliance with the requirements of European Union standards, lease/rental authorization and, in the case of vehicles over 3.5 tons, transport license.
Due to the number of kilometers traveled and the increasingly stringent requirements for combustion standards, fleet vehicles should be replaced every few years. Let’s turn to a concrete example at this point.
The average age of the vehicle fleet of our company – LCL Spedition – is about one and a half years. Our vehicles, in addition to fulfilling their main function of transporting goods, must first and foremost be a safe part of traffic. Cargo safety is hugely important, but the priority is the safety of people – which goes hand in hand anyway.
Fleet vehicles should be equipped with integrated GPS systems, which will allow real-time communication between the driver and the company’s forwarding headquarters – this is the case with LCL Spedition. Each load is monitored in real time, its status and location is transmitted in real time, and advanced IT systems affect the safety and efficiency of the forwarding projects carried out.
Vehicles must also meet European EURO 6 environmental standards.
Vehicle brands tailored to the transportation industry
On the subject of what vehicle brands work best in transportation, one could write not only another article, but entire studies.As LCL Spedition, we have at our disposal a modern fleet of several hundred Renault buses, dozens of Volvo MEGA sets and Schmitz refrigerated trucks. Renault Master DMC 3.5 buses, regardless of the load capacity of the interior space (individual models vary in this regard), are ideal vehicles for express shipments and transport of e-commerce parcels – they will deliver goods to those places where a truck will not reach. A bus-type vehicle is exempt from most of the restrictions that apply to trucks. It will move around city centers without any problems.
In addition, one of the Renault Master models is equipped with a so-called elevator, providing an ideal option for deliveries in the case of shopping malls or stores that do not have their own loading ramps. As transport companies are meeting the needs of their customers, more vehicles of this type this month joined LCL Spedition’s fleet.
Volvo tractor-trailers with MEGA sem i-trailers are ideal for transportation in the automotive industry, which is one of the most developing branches of the European industry, oriented towards the production of car parts, i.e. bodies, seats or transport packaging.
These vehicles are also available in a refrigerated version – they allow the transport of fresh articles, are ATP certified for leakage, and the temperature range inside their semi-trailer is -30 to +35 degrees C (with the possibility of remotely checking it). They are equipped with Double Deck technology, allowing the transport of goods on two levels.
The owner of a transport company who wants to offer a wide range of services to his customers must ensure that both the owner of a retail outlet in the city center and a contractor who needs to transport goods at low temperatures can be served with his vehicles.
A wide range of services and their high quality, combined with attention to the condition of the vehicle fleet, seem to be the most important principle for the operation of transport companies wishing to make a living in this demanding industry.
In what direction is the transportation industry headed?
Will we have to wait as long for the next evolution as we have waited for the first motorized vehicle since the invention of the wheel? Will it be possible to transport “by road” – by air in cities, along the lines of what we have the opportunity to see in science fiction films? Of course, no one can answer these questions – not even those who grant themselves a monopoly on the truth in this matter.
A novelty in the transportation industry today are electrified trucks – An increasing number of manufacturers are interested in producing electric trucks. Technology, meanwhile, is rushing forward, the first autonomous vehicles have appeared, that is, vehicles that are not driven by a human… But this is already a topic for another article, so with this futuristic accent we end the current one, and those intrigued by the possibility of introducing autonomous vehicles on public roads are invited to search for information on the Internet… and watch our blog – perhaps we will return to this topic, although as no one knows the future, we are unable to guarantee it.