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Survey on Freight Transport including a cost-comparison for Europe

Exploitable results

The objectives of SOFTICE project is to demonstrate the interaction between production cost, transport cost and transport demand for freight, and to demonstrate the benefits of harmonized freight transport costs. Results and conclusions - Based on a small number of different statistical sources, relatively consistent values can be obtained for the weight of transport costs as a percentage of total industrial production outputs: at a relatively high level of aggregation of industrial sectors (11 to 18 sectors, depending on the country and source), this percentage normally falls between 3% and 6%, although it is clear from direct knowledge that some sub-sectors will have significantly larger proportions of their costs for transport operations (food and beverages, clothing, furniture, etc.); - Own-account transport operations, which normally are not visible in transport statistics, can have a significant role: for the available data sets, it is estimated that they represent between 14% and 22% of the total transport costs. By type of good, this form of operation seems especially important for intermediate goods and raw materials; - Comparing the data collected for the first Shipper Panel Survey and the data from the Cost Data Collection which was previously undertaken among the hauliers it is interesting to observe that the prices quoted by the hauliers are lower than those declared by the shippers. The fact that most of the shipping examples collected during the first Shipper Panel Survey are regular ones can explain this aspect. In any case reported differences in Switzerland (-34%) and in Portugal (-66%) are very high. These values can be explained considering that in the analyzed data set a certain quantity of «outliers» can be present, but also by the presence of price lists for the transport of goods which are not respected for various reasons (heavy competition mainly); - The cost of transport varies according to the shipper's country of residence, and differences can be remarkable when, for example, Germany is compared to Portugal. This may be due to different costs of labour in these countries (e.g. salaries, working hours, etc.), but it would be interesting to expand this project's purview to include investigation into whether cost differences may depend on different logistical organizations of the transport chain, a bigger/smaller share due to storage and handling, different highway fees and tolls, different maintenance costs and regulations, or other factors more directly related to transport as such; - Most of the cases under study refer to (Full Load Truck) FLT shipments and regular deliveries. This result was expected since FLT transport generally optimizes shipping costs, and shippers ordinarily work with regular production cycles. In fact, the data analysis shows that FLT shipments tend to yield a significantly lower value of cost per Km, and this holds true especially over short-medium distances; - The economic activity of shippers does not seem to have a marked effect on the actual cost of transport. Even though cost values differ significantly between textiles and food, the median values (much less affected by outliers as discussed earlier) are more or less all concentrated around 1 Euro/Km for all branches of activity. More than by the shipper's economic branch of activity, the cost factor may probably be affected by the kind of commodity transported and the actual type of cargo (e.g. liquid/solid bulk, container, pallets, swap bodies, self-propelled units, refrigerated, etc.); - From the valuation of transport attributes, it is possible to assess the relative importance of different attributes of quality of service (namely reliability and transit time) for each market segment. Reliability seems to be the most important criterion for both shippers and carriers according to the numerous surveys (carried out in Europe and in the United-States) in which respondents are asked to rank the criteria. Price of the transport and reliability fight for the first place in these surveys in most segments.