Improving the Operational Efficiency in Road Haulage

Mario Sulev

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Objective The road haulage sector in Europe is highly integrated but it is not harmonized. In Sweden, companies operating in the road haulage sector are under constant cost pressure. These companies are operating in an unfavorable region characterized by relatively high costs. This paper presents a review, classification and evaluation of operational efficiency techniques available to road haulage companies in Europe. In addition to that, the paper investigates the competitiveness enhancing tools used by a Swedish haulier. Methodology The paper uses an abductive approach. The research strategy used is a single embedded case study. The broad research subject is the Swedish road haulage company Widens Akeri but sub-subjects are examined within the company to allow for an in-depth investigation and achieve credibility of the results. The main data collection technique is semi-structured interviews. Findings and Conclusions The results show that Widens Akeri utilizes competitiveness enhancing tools such as bigger vehicles, truck aerodynamics, alternative fuel and eco-driving style. However, trailer aerodynamic equipment and low rolling resistance tires are not being fully utilized by the company. The research has also identified that Widens Akeri has solved the common problem of empty running through what they refer as “smarter transport strategy”. A legitimate scientific study, which addresses how a haulage company can solve the empty running problem, has not been conducted. Instead, the researchers have assumed that the problem cannot be solved by a haulage company. The research suggests that company reputation and direct contact with the customers are two of the major facilitators for executing the “smarter transport strategy”. Future Scope The analysis provides a roadmap to guide future research and facilitate knowledge accumulation and creation in regard to the optimization techniques available to companies in the Swedish road haulage sector. The addressed areas of operational improvements could be of potential value to future researchers investigating the competitiveness of Scandinavian road haulage companies. Moreover, this study can also provide a base for empty running conservation, energy efficiency and cost reduction in the road haulage sector. Keywords: Road freight sector, Long haulage, Heavy-duty vehicles, Sweden, Cost pressure, Cost optimization, Empty running, Fuel Consumption, Biodiesel, Modular system, Aerodynamics, Eco-driving, Modular vehicles, Low-rolling resistance tires, Haulage rates.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages133
SupervisorsTorben Juul Andersen