Technology has changed the way we work in such short period of time; for the most part for the better. Technologies like GPS mapping have helped drivers create more efficient routes which have allowed drivers to make deliveries on-time.
However, the introduction of new technologies presents new hurdles for companies. There are a number of barriers when introducing a new technology such as:
- People Fight Change – Whenever, a new technology is introduced there is always a bit of animosity. This animosity can be caused by the fear of the unknown; it is important that people are given a good standard of training and information to combat the animosity.
- Data Security – It would be ignorant to believe that any digital system is invulnerable to cyber-attacks. The problems cyber-attacks can cause can be seen recently with the notorious WannaCry ransomware which crippled large organisations like the NHS.
Technology presents a great opportunity for the freight industry; But, it is clear that the more jobs we digitalise increase the risks of a cyber-attack which can cause disruption which costs companies millions.
Skills shortages and the aging workforce
There is a growing concern within the freight industry that there are too few young people entering the industry. In 2017, the FTA reported that the average age of HGV drivers rose to 48.3. It is inevitable that as the workforce grow older and start to retire, employers will have a void to fill. It is important that the FTA and employers make the industry look appealing to the younger generations in order to fill in the gaps.
Currently, the FTA is looking to combat this by campaigning for reform in the training process to make it easier to train new workers with less restriction.
UK international connectivity
It is important to invest in the UK’s transport infrastructure. For the UK that we can trade with Europe and the rest of the world without delays and other burdens being imposed. There are three sections in which need improvement such as:
- Air Cargo – According to the FTA, About 40 percent of UK imports and exports by value are dependent on on-air freight. Air freight to long-haul destinations is mainly carried in cargo holds of passenger aircraft flying in and out of Heathrow Airport. There is a limited cargo capacity which has stalled air freight.
- Deep sea cargo and short sea shipping – UK ports will need to accommodate for the new mega-vessels which are being developed so that cargo can be trans-shipped in the UK rather than in the EU where there will be a longer and more expensive passage to the UK.
It is important now, post-Brexit, that our infrastructure is well invested so that as a nation we do not get left behind.
Finding the best freight forwarder isn’t hard if you know what to look out for. There are a few key points to look out for:
It’s important that you are clear on what actually is a freight forwarder and what they do? This will help you understand whether a freight forwarder offers the services which will benefit you.
Whilst most freight forwarders are able to transport almost any type of good to almost anywhere in the world. It is important to find the freight forwarders speciality and determine whether their speciality will benefit you. For example, here at Espace, we specialise in transporting goods in and out of Europe.
The reputation of a freight forwarder is important. Here you are able to determine whether they are really the real deal. You are able to gauge whether they have a good reputation through the testimonials they receive.
Most freight forwarders offer prices online. The best thing to keep in mind when it comes to comparing prices is that the cheapest is not always the best.
With freight forwarders, you are not only paying for the shipping services but just as importantly you are paying for the personal service. A sign of a great freight forwarder is whenever you ring up you should always be attended to.
Driverless trucks are the future which is coming ever closer. Driver-less cars are starting to gain traction. It’s inevitable that in the next 20 years we will see the technology move onto trucks. This technology will have an impact on everyone some more than others. But overall will driver-less truck add positivity to our society?
What are the positives?
The main positive of driver-less trucks is their efficiency. These trucks will need no breaks. They also are able to drive more efficiently which will save petrol when compared to a human driver. Also, through the better driving efficiency, this will have an impact on emissions. Emissions will decrease which is important for an industry which is criticized for the large amount emissions it produces.
Cost savings is a positive since labor currently accounts for an estimated 35% to 45% of operating costs of road freight in Europe. This will lead to lower prices for customers.
Also, a driver-less truck may solve an issue that the industry may face in the future. A lot of truckers are in their later periods of their career. This would be okay but very little younger men and women are becoming truck drivers. This technology has the potential to solve this problem.
What are the negatives?
Driverless trucks will have an impact on the current truck drivers, they will become redundant. There are around 285,000 HGV drivers in the UK. For all of these drivers being made redundant by machines would be an economic disaster for the UK. The support in place for displaced workers would not be able to handle the number of displaced workers.
Another risk is having computers involved with trucks opens up security risks which could enable hackers to cause damage.
Although the technology will bring such benefits to society, we cannot forget the 285,000 truck drivers who could lose their job as a result of this. The best way to introducing this, one would think, is by slowly introducing it to the point where over time the trucks take over from the retiring truck drivers. Doing it this way it will reduce the number of redundancies.
Yesterday, the EU proposed to limit the days in which foreign drivers can drive across Europe on lower wages. Richer EU countries like France and Germany have complained competitors from Eastern Europe are undercutting them by sending over a driver on lower wages.
Foreign drivers will be given the title “Posted Worker” meaning they would potentially receive at least the minimum wage of the country they are working in. Drivers would be categorised as a “posted worker” if they spend 3 or more days per month working away from home.
Eastern European countries hit back by calling these restrictions on their drivers as protectionist.
In previous weeks, we have seen France try to take action by charging €40 per foreign driver and the introduction of the macron law, where every foreign worker has to be paid the French minimum wage throughout their time in France.
The impact of higher wages will lead to higher haulier costs which will be passed onto the customer. However, the proposition would make it fairer for the hauliers which are from the richer countries.
The French government has taken the decision to charge a €40 fee for every foreign worker operating in France on a temporary basis, for foreign companies. This charge looks to come into place on the 1 January 2018. The Charge will affect the UK’s ability of UK’s logistical operators which operate in Europe.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised the French government’s decision to charge a €40 fee. The fee has been described as “excessive” and “protectionist”. The FTA Head of European Policy calls for the “European Commission to react strongly and speed up its ongoing legal case against France, to ensure that trade can continue to flow across borders in a seamless manner and to protect the integrity of the single market.”
This sort of controversy is nothing new from the French government. Just last year the French tried to impose, that anyone driving international road vehicles received payment whilst in the country equal to, or exceeding that, of French minimum wages.
Just Less than two weeks the EU community was congratulating France on the election of Emmanual Macron, now they are asking him to reverse this “protectionist” policy. What shall he do?
The growth of globalisation over the past 50 years is something the world has never seen before. Globalisation has sourced from the developments of our technology, to be more specific our way of communication. Today, the internet and our mobile phones allow us to contact people on the other side of the world. Despite globalisation providing benefits to people, it has led to growth in popularity for protectionist policies. The Brexit vote would be the clearest example.
When looking at all the countries in the world it’s easy to notice a pattern where the more developed countries have lower trade tariffs but, this isn’t the same for undeveloped countries, they tend to have higher trade tariffs on imports.
The World Economic Forum released the Global Competitiveness Report on the state of the world’s economies. The report used international trade tariffs as one factor in their report.
So what are the top 10 international trade tariffs?
10 – Barbados: 14.2% – Barbados is a full member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and as such, has implemented CARICOM’s Common External Tariff for goods, with import duties ranging from 0 – 20%.
9 – Gambia: 14.3% – Gambia is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Gambia has four tariff bands, and they are as follows: 0 percent for basic social goods, 5 percent for raw materials, capital goods, and specific inputs; 10 percent for intermediate goods; and 20 percent for final consumer goods. There are a 1.55 percent processing fee and an ECOWAS levy of 0.5 percent on all imports.
8 – Chad: 14.3% – Like other CEMAC countries, i.e. Gambia, they have the same international trade tariffs.
7 – Cameroon: 14.6% – Cameroon has an import tariff range of 10-30% of most goods.
6 – Zimbabwe: 14.6% – You must obtain an export licence to export any controlled goods from the UK to Zimbabwe. These are issued by the Export Control Organisation.
5 – Pakistan: 16.6% – Import tariffs in Pakistan range from 0 to 35% for most goods.
4 – Nepal: 16.8% – One fifth of Nepal’s tax income comes from its custom duty.
3 – Sri Lanka: 17.6% – Most of the imports are charged a 15% levy when entering Sri Lanka. However, some imports have been hit a 100% on their customs duty.
2 – Bhutan: 22.7% – Sometimes Bhutan levies the tax on foreign goods up to 100%.
1 – Iran: 28% – Iran’s biggest export is oil, now that the US has started to lift sanctions. However, their import tariff rates range from 10% to 100%.