Technological innovations spell structural change for the transport industry

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Technological innovations spell structural change for the transport industry

  • Road, rail and water freight volumes on the rise
  • Success in the transport industry determined by new business models
  • Technological developments set to structurally change the industry

Rising volumes, prices not always keeping pace

The economic recovery is good for the transport industry in the Netherlands. Particularly freight transport by rail, road and inland shipping are benefitting as the economy improves. This is ABN AMRO’s conclusion in its Vision on Transport and Logistics, published today. For example, in 2014 both international and domestic rail freight volumes rose, for a total of 3 percent. Revenues from road transport were up by 4 percent, despite lagging prices. Inland shipping also reaped the benefits of the growth: revenues were up 1.4 percent in 2014, thanks principally to rising volumes. In light of the economic recovery, ABN AMRO expects volumes in these three segments to continue to rise in 2015. However, structural problems will keep prices down.

Need for innovation and cooperation in the transport industry

To hold on to this growth, the transport industry should place greater emphasis on innovation, ABN AMRO stresses. The impact of technology and data translation will become more and more important for determining the processes in logistics chains. For logistics enterprises, this means that they need to identify how their added value is changing. One possibility is to develop new logistics concepts that streamline the supply chain. Another option is for shipping companies to help their clients cut costs by improving the efficiency of their goods flows.

Rising demand for modern facilities

Technological developments will permanently change the face of the transport industry. ‘To succeed as a logistics enterprise, it is vital to keep pace with the ever more rapidly changing needs of clients, supported by an appropriate IT infrastructure. Modifying distribution channels and making more efficient use of transportation also necessitate new income models,’ explains Bart Banning, Sector Banker Transport & Logistics at ABN AMRO. ‘For example, in Warehousing and Distribution the demand for modern distribution centres is increasing, boosted by the rapid growth of e-commerce. The need for specific property surrounding logistics hotspots is high. Rail transport can create partnerships with other modalities to realise savings for transport users. Road transport businesses will need to find other factors besides price on which compete in order to create a future-proof income model. The inland shipping segment is in a strong position to play an important role in the trend toward sustainability in freight transport, yet here too new forms of partnership are needed.’

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