Road freight digitalisation still to deliver full value

As road freight digitalisation has spread and start-ups have pushed technological innovation throughout the market, there have been many promises of transformation and massive gains in the efficiency of providers and value delivered to customers.

However, Ti’s latest report European Road Freight Transport 2019 finds that despite the undoubted potential of the many start-ups in the market, road freight across Europe remains a market yet to overcome the significant challenges of driver shortages, under-utilisation, poor profitability, a lack of transparency and manual, slow to react processes. 

Many of these challenges are not new. “Improving vehicle utilization should be a priority for the industry as everybody benefits. There are fewer vehicles on the roads, so less congestion; vehicle emissions are reduced and of course the number of drivers needed goes down, helping to address driver shortages. Conversely, operator profitability goes up and hence so does the quality of the services they offer,” Nick Bailey, Ti’s Head of Research, commented.

But while the road freight digitalisation start-ups and innovators may not have realised their full potential yet, they offer solutions that are increasingly understood and gaining traction rapidly. In the road freight market the logic of using digital platforms, for example, is unarguable. Matching freight operators and loads more effectively reduces costs for shippers and the number of trucks required to move the same amount of freight while improving operators’ profitability and overall industry efficiency.

However, the reality is much more complex. “Although notional spare capacity in the market is on average 40%, that so-called ‘waste’ is not wholly addressable through the use of road freight platforms. It’s vital not to downplay the importance of the use of digital road freight platforms, which will undoubtedly have some impact on efficiency and hence driver shortages, it is important to note that this is not a ‘silver bullet’ for the industry,” said John Manners-Bell, Ti’s CEO and one of the report’s co-authors.

About European Road Freight 2019

European Road Freight Transport 2019 provides analysis of how the market is changing by assessing cost structures, EU policy, shippers’ requirements and the potential of digital freight marketplaces.

European Road Freight Transport 2019 examines:

  • Market sizing:
    • Data for the European domestic and international road freight market
    • 2018 market sizes
    • 5-year CAGR growth rates 2018-2023
  • Analysis of driver shortages and vehicle utilization
  • Changes in EU Policy:
    • Analysis of the effects EU policy may have for the road freight sector
  • Digital Freight Marketplaces:
    • Analysis of the potential of digital freight marketplaces and their impact on the market and carriers’ margins
    • Case studies on the implementation of different technologies among major LSPs
  • Road Freight Provider Profiles:
    • Profiles of major road freight providers – including strategies, finances, technologies used and their implementation


If you would like to know more about European Road Freight Transport 2019, contact Ti’s Head of Commercial Development, Michael Clover via email: [email protected] or through calling +44 (0) 1666 519907.