What Christmas gifts will be in my trailer this year?

What Christmas gifts will be in my trailer this year?

Christmas is the most important retail period of the year in most European countries.  These days, people are purchasing gifts ever earlier, from Black Friday/Cyber Weekend in late November and throughout December. Truck drivers will be wondering what gifts they are transporting for Christmas. What Christmas gifts are the most likely to be loaded onto their trailers?

Favourite Christmas gift categories

Research commissioned by Vouchercodes.co.uk into UK consumers’ top 10 Cyber Weekend shopping list items gives us a good idea of favourite Christmas gift choices.

Clothing, footwear, and accessories were the most popular category selected by 24% of respondents, followed closely by personal electronics including smartphones and tablets and home electronics including TVs and speakers (with both categories chosen by 23%). 16% opted for DVDs, computer games and books whilst 15% wanted to buy toys.

Our top 5 trailer fillers

We like to predict the top 5 trailer filler gifts. On the theme of clothing and footwear, fashionable trainers from brands such as New Balance or Nike will be in demand. Popular fashion accessories this year include “belt bags” formerly known as “bum bags”. (source: Guardian) Children and adults alike will be delighted with Lego sets such as the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train toy or the more adult-oriented Lego replicas of architectural masterpieces including the Taj Mahal and London’s Big Ben. For those wanting a more sports-related gift, an electric bike could be just what they need. (source: Wiggle.com) People of all ages will enjoy a games console be that a PS4 Pro, Xbox One X or a Nintendo Switch. (source: Techadvisor.co.uk)

Christmas starts earlier

According to a Deloitte survey, 30% of European internet users planned to make Christmas-related gift purchases in November or earlier. That said, a majority of Christmas gifts will still be bought in December. (source:EMarketer)

Regional differences

However, there are regional differences in Christmas purchasing behaviour. Consumers in countries such as the Netherlands and Germany like to start buying gifts from November onwards (67% and 30% respectively) whereas consumers in other countries like to purchase at the last minute. 73% of French and 70% of Italian consumers buy in December. (source: CRR/RetailMeNot)

Christmas consumer spending

The forecasts for consumer spending over Christmas look promising for the transport industry.

In early November, Germany’s HDE retail association said that it expected Christmas sales to grow by 2% this year, reaching a record-breaking 100 billion euros. (source: Reuters)

Forecasts for the Christmas retail season are similarly bullish for France. A survey by the Centre for Retail Research(CRR)forRetailMeNot France forecast that the French will be spending 69 billion euros at Christmas.

The picture for UK retail over Christmas is more mixed, summed up by a Retail Gazette article headlined “Retailers face “nerve-wracking run-up to Christmas”. According to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, online sales in November were at an all-time high accounting for 33.8% of the November sales total up to November 24 (a 1.2% increase on the same period in 2017) but total sales fell flat.

European e-commerce market still growing

Analysts at Statista expect the European e-commerce market to grow annually from 2018 to 2023 at a compounded rate of 6.9%, resulting in a market volume of €424,705.65m by 2023. They forecast that the European e-commerce market will total €304,250.47m in 2018.

Statista finds that “fashion” is the European e-commerce market’s largest segment and likely to total €89,851.99m in value in 2018.  (source: Statista)

E-commerce and trailers – the opportunity

A growth in e-commerce in the Christmas period is an opportunity for road transport fleets to make more deliveries.  However, this opportunity must be carefully managed. With cargo volumes difficult to predict during the festive season, you don’t want to end up having too little or too much trailer capacity to meet customer demand. Ideally, you want to enjoy flexible access to trailers to benefit from exceptional demand, but not be left with your own trailers sitting empty in the yard when the post-Christmas retail sales have ended.

Trailer rental to meet extra demand

Trailer rental enables fleet managers to handle extra demand during Christmas time or at any other time when demand climbs beyond your current trailer capacity.  If you don’t want the financial burden and responsibilities of owning a large fleet of trucks, trailer rental is your answer. With trailer rental, you can bring on additional trailers to fulfil specific contracts and then return them afterward with having to bear their ongoing fleet ownership overheads.

A Christmas gift of flexible trailer rental solutions from TIP Trailer Services?

With its fleet of over 68,000 trailer assets for rent, TIP can equip your fleet for Christmas and throughout the year, with flexible, extra trailer capacity. TIP can also provide further peace of mind with its maintenance and repair programme run from its network of 84 trailer workshops across Europe and its 24/7 pan European roadside assistance service. For more information, please contact us using this form.

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Cargo theft update: new ways to protect your trailer

Cargo theft update: new ways to protect your trailer

Cargo theft is an issue that will not go away. Luckily, there are technology-based solutions available for fleet managers and drivers to reduce cargo theft risk.

Not on a Thursday!

According to a survey of cargo theft in EMEA in 2017, drivers should be particularly on their guard against cargo theft on Thursdays because this is when it peaks. The survey reported close to 5,000 cargo thefts in EMEA and highlighted the greater risk of theft at unsecured parking. Where it differed from other surveys was in identifying specific regions within countries that are most affected by the theft. They include the East Midlands, a location that with 754 thefts accounted for over half the UK’s.  Conversely, in Germany, cargo theft is more evenly distributed. The most at risk regions were Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, which had 19% of thefts each.

Curtains for theft?

The same survey noted that the most prevalent type of theft, at 44%, was the slashing of curtains on curtainsider trailers.  Pilferage took second place at 31%. This was followed by vehicle theft and facility theft (5% each) and fuel theft (4%), thefts of full truckloads (3%) and deceptive pickup and last-mile courier thefts each with 1%.

EU technology-based cargo theft prevention kit

The department responsible for transport at the European Commission, DG Move, has developed a new security toolkit for the European Road Freight Transport Sector. The Security Toolkit for Truck Drivers is downloadable. It has been designed to help European truck drivers, haulage companies and other road transport players to “address cargo theft, stowaway entry to trucks and terrorism on European roads”.

The toolkit proposes various technology-led cargo theft prevention solutions including:

  • Track & trace – Install vehicle and cargo unit trackers and geofencing to trigger alerts if a trailer deviates too far from a pre-set For additional security, add remote vehicle immobilisation capability.
  • Awareness & response– Equip your trucks and trailers with multi-channel telematics. Give your drivers mobile devices and applications for finding secure parking places. Have sensors alert your driver’s smartphone or watch if a truck or trailer door opens. Install a vehicle-based mist generator to make it difficult for thieves.
  • Access control – Use electronic keys and multi-factor biometric driver authentication using fingerprints, retina or other body parts for identification.
  • Locks & seals– Install automatic or slam-lock applications, remote locking and electronic seals with a remote reporting capability.

Other categories include alarms & detectors; camera surveillance for trucks & trailers and data-driven driver selection. (source: ROADSEC)

Preventive analytics

With the advent of Big Data, some logistics organisations are collecting information on cargo thefts that take place in specific areas. They are using computer analytics to analyse this data and find patterns in the thefts, which they can feed into predictive models. These models can then help fleet managers and drivers prevent cargo theft by using the information to plan the safest routes for deliveries, avoiding towns, roads and parking areas where, historically, there has been a high incidence of cargo crime. (source: Sdcexec)

Reinforced trailers

Commercial Fleet magazine has examined cargo theft prevention from a more low-tech perspective.  Kersey Freight purchased 15 box-bodied Dry Liner semi-trailers from Krone. These box trailers are fitted with door locking bars situated inside rather than outside the trailer. The hinge pins cannot be accessed from outside. In addition, the driver can lock a stainless bar across the door handles when the doors are shut.  The walls and roof of the trailer are also solid. These security features make these trailers difficult to break into.

Other variants of this semi-trailer can be side- and rear-loaded and centrally locked and unlocked from the tractor unit either from the cab or remotely from the fleet’s headquarters.


Several commentators have highlighted the vulnerability of curtainsiders to theft as their walls can be slashed relatively easily with a knife and other basic cutting tools. To counteract this potential weakness, companies such as Cunningham offer an anti-slash curtainsider which incorporates steel mesh sandwiched between two layers of fabric. These are welded onto and bolted through the curtainsider for secure attachment.

At a recent conference, John C. Tabor, senior vice president of supply chain for National Retail Systems advised fleets to wrap their curtainsiders in company logos and graphics instead of leaving them in plain white, to make any stolen trailers more distinctive and traceable by law enforcement agencies. (source: Freightwaves)

Advice on trailers and protecting them from cargo theft with TIP Trailer rental

With a fleet of over 66,000 trailers in its fleet and 50 years in the trailer rental business, TIP has the expertise and experience to advise on the best ways to protect your trailer and cargo from theft. Customers renting trailers through TIP Trailer Services benefit from this advice.

TIP rental options

We offer a range of trailers on a rental basis including semi-trailers, flatbed, curtainsider, box trailers, tankers and reefers to add to your fleet.

Outsource trailer maintenance and repair

To help our clients maximise trailer uptime and as part of trailer rental contracts, TIP Trailer Services provides maintenance and repair management services. Whilst your rental trailer is being maintained or repaired, we supply you with other trailers to ensure the smooth running of your business.

You can also depend on our Europe-wide breakdown recovery service 24/7 365 days per year. For further information on flexible trailer rental with TIP Trailer Services rental fleet, please contact us using this form.


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What is your tyre management strategy?

Trailer tyre management strategy can also make a significant difference to driver safety and total cost of ownership for fleet managers.

After the recent Brazilian Grand Prix, the head of Pirelli motorsport, Mario Isola praised Red Bull and its leading driver Dutch F1 prodigy Max Verstappen for driving with a particularly smart tyre strategy using soft compound tyres and only one pitstop. Isola believed this tyre strategy would probably have led to victory for Verstappen had he not collided with rival Estaban Ocon. (source: GPBlog). Trailer tyre management strategy can also make a significant difference to driver safety and total cost of ownership for fleet managers. What is your trailer tyre management strategy?


There are several aspects of tyre management that fleet managers include in their tyre management strategies like tyre pressure, tyre selection, and smart tyre technologies all of which affect the total cost of truck and trailer ownership.

Under pressure

“Underinflation of tyres” was named as “the biggest issue in the industry,” by Sharon Cowart, product marketing director for Michelin Americas Truck Tires in FleetEquipmentMag. She also stated that it was the number one cause of “retiring” tyres before the end of their normal lifespan.

Underinflated tyres?

Underinflated tyres heat up and can cause the tyres to destroy themselves and their tread and lead to poor vehicle handling, lower fuel economy and a shorter lifespan than expected.

Conversely, overinflated tyres are also problematic. An overinflated tyre has a smaller area of the tyre in contact with the road surface.  This reduces the grip of the tyre on the road and causes the tyre to wear down in an irregular way, thereby weakening it.(source:FleetEquipmentMag)

Maintain the correct tyre pressure

This is critical for several reasons:

  • Safety– In 2017 Highways England, a UK government-owned company responsible for managing the UK’s motorways, investigated ways of using roadside-based technology to assess the condition of truck and trailer tyres as they drove past and identify those likely to cause breakdowns or accidents. Highways England instigated this research because approximately 1 in 12 truck tyres is underinflated to a dangerous level and tyre-related issues caused 120 serious injuries and eight deaths in 2016.(source: Motor1)
  • Cost of tyre ownership– According to a report by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations, a 20% under-inflation in a commercial vehicle tyre will increase tread wear by 25% and reduce the tyre lifespan by 30%. This results in significant increase in tyre costs for a fleet. Under-inflation by 10 PSI reduces fuel economy by 1%.

Tyre selection

As tyres drive along a road, they rotate and flex outwards and away from the road’s surface, causing energy loss. The amount of energy lost depends on the tyres’ rolling resistance. The most energy efficient tyres have a low rolling resistance. This means less energy – and less fuel – is needed to move the vehicle. According to the EU, tyres account for 20 to 30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption. Fuel efficiency is a key consideration when selecting tyres.

The EU facilitates tyre selection with its EU Tyre Label scheme which rates tyres for fuel efficiency/rolling resistance, wet grip and exterior noise.

However, there is a trade-off because low rolling resistance tyres have less tread and a shorter material lifecycle than a conventional tyre. (source: Transport Topics)

The right tyres for purpose

Fleet managers need to choose the right size of tyres for their trucks and trailers and the loads that they carry. Fleets delivering on shorter routes with many delivery points might select tyres that offer high mileage whilst those covering longer distances might consider more fuel- efficient tyres.

Managing the tyre lifecycle

All tyres have a finite lifecycle. Good maintenance practices will delay the need to replace them. It is then up to the fleet manager to weigh up the benefits of buying new tyres compared to retreaded and regrooved tyres. Most tyre manufacturers offer approved retreaded tyre programmes.

Terry Salter, Bridgestone UK’s Retread Development Manager said “A new truck tyre weighs 65kg to 70kg but a retread only requires 20kg of fresh raw material before it can go back into service.  … That’s a big saving.” It takes 83 litres of oil to manufacture a new tyre compared to just 26 litres for a retread. (source: SMMT)

Smart tyre technology

There are an increasing number of smart tyre technologies to assist fleet managers with remote tyre monitoring and maintenance. Many include a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.  An RFID tag is a sensor integrated into the tyre for monitoring factors such as tyre pressure and temperatures. These sensors can measure the depth and wear of tread on tyres or track their location. These technologies equip the fleet manager and driver to take corrective action and maximise trailer uptime. (source: Transport Topics)

TIP tyre experience and expertise

Our experience in maintaining trailers for 50 years gives TIP extensive tyre expertise. Drivers can bring their trailers and trucks in for tyre maintenance and repair at one of TIP’s network of 84 workshops across Europe. Otherwise, one of TIP’s fleet of mobile service unit vans can come to your assistance onsite.  Each van has a fully qualified and certified mechanic on board with a wide array of diagnostic and workshop equipment and tools to help you find a solution to your tyre and other mechanical issues.  TIP can provide you with a flexible tyre service.

TIP and tyre management

Tyre management is for everyone, not just F1 drivers. TIP can set up your tyre management so that your trailers grip the road in the best possible condition! Contact us using this form.

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How and why to improving driver retention matters

How and why to improve driver retention

Truck driver shortage remains a major issue for Europe’s road transport companies. Attracting new drivers is still challenging for the industry overall as well as for individual transport fleets. Given these circumstances, what can fleet managers do to retain their existing drivers?

Driver shortage – today?

How serious is the driver shortage? Holger Mandel, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus Germany said that Germany needs another 45,000 drivers (source: Eurotransport.de). The French FNTR union estimated a shortfall of 20,000 drivers (source: Les Echos) Didier Michel, organiser of the Truck and Tuning Show de Garocentre in Belgium told RTB TVthat the country is searching for at least 3,000 more truck drivers.

customer survey by Paragon Software Systems in the UK found that the driver/skills shortage was the greatest challenge facing road transport fleets in 2018.

The costs of driver turnover

The costs of not looking after your current drivers are high. US research by Rodriquez et Al conducted over 2016 among a cross-section of drivers from owner-operators through to fleet drivers, driving commercial vehicles from vans to reefers and semi-trailers found that the average cost of turnover per driver for all companies in the study was €7081.15 and ranged from €1928.94 to €17,826.06. (source: FORS-online)

Engagement and retention – ever more important

Given the above, what are the most effective ways to incentivise, motivate and retain your existing driver employees?

Communication is the key

When it comes to engagement and retention, many fleet managers confirm that driver feedback-based communication is crucial. This communication includes establishing a rapport with your drivers by being open and honest with them, building trust and listening to their feedback. Fleet managers need to act on that feedback and integrate it into their retention strategy.  Fleet managers can set out what the expectations are for their drivers and reward them for meeting these goals. (source: Workhound)

Engage them early

A study by employee feedback and training company Stay Metrics discovered that the way a road freight transport company brings onboard a new driver and their interactions with that driver can have a significant influence on their engagement and retention. More than a third of newly hired drivers will make their decision to leave in the first three months. (source:FleetOwner)


Fleet managers should develop a driver engagement and retention strategy. They can find inspiration from many sources including professional organisations such as the UK’s Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) which recently published a guide entitled Effective Driver Management – An Industry Code of Practice”. On page 56, it sets out a strategic framework for managing driver engagement and retention based on five principles: communicate, engage, respect, reward and train.

Retention tactics

Fleet managers have a range of retention tactics that they can employ:

  • Telematics technology is one avenue to follow. The use of in-cab videos and sensors for telematics is seen by some truck drivers as an invasion of privacy and a sign of a lack of trust. When fitting telematics technology, fleet managers must communicate the business reasons why the fleet is installing it, emphasize the driver benefits, train and incentivise drivers to utilise it in a positive manner. (source: Teletracnavman)
  • Analytics-based driver retention technology such as Omnitracs Analytics is gaining ground. It analyses historic industry data and a driver’s personal driving data provided by telematics and other sources such as tachographs to pinpoint very small changes in driver behaviour which form a pattern that is recognisable as being the prelude to a driver’s decision to leave a company. The technology sends the fleet manager an alert. The manager can then take the appropriate action to keep the driver with the company. (source:TTNews)
  • Gamification e. game playing to encourage engagement is another tactic. The fleet at Zip Water (UK) has introduced a system called OptiDrive by TomTom which gives the driver a score based on factors including speeding, idling, and harsh braking. The scores are linked to “driving,” one of the employees’ five performance objectives. Achieving their objectives can lead to bonuses on top of their salaries. The implementation of this scheme has led to a reduction in its accident rate and a 15% reduction in its insurance premiums. (source: FleetNews)
  • Role flexibility is a possible tactic. Logistics consultant Paul Trudgian suggests that to avoid “role fatigue”, drivers should periodically be moved from long-haul to last mile delivery, to a warehousing or logistics operations role. This could help retention and offer drivers a better and more flexible career development potential. (source: Paul Trudgian)
  • Traditional incentives – Fleet managers should provide their drivers with an attractive pay package and, where possible, routes and schedules that give them the opportunity to maximise time with family and friends, whilst acknowledging that truck driving is typically associated with irregular hours.
  • Better trucks and trailers– Terry Morris, commercial director of Palletways UK summed up this tactic. In an interview with UK Haulier after purchasing 64 new trucks and trailers, he underlined the importance of recruiting and retaining drivers to his company and said “Drivers take pride in vehicles they’re responsible for if the conditions they’re working in are right. They want the most modern, up-to-date vehicle and trailers so our fleet needs to impress.”

TIP and driver engagement and retention

With its fleet of over 68,000 trailer assets for rent and lease, TIP provides your drivers with the best available trailers and trailer technology, which are invaluable elements of your broader driver engagement and retention toolkit. For more information on how TIP  can help your fleet with solutions to driver engagement and retention, please contact TIP using this form.

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TIP NORDIC new mobile workshop success

Highly requested service

After a high number of requests from our Nordic customers, we have now started a mobile workshop at C-LOG, which covers the area around Gardermoen and Jessheim. C-log is Coops main warehouse and logistics center in Oslo, Norway. On a daily basis around 300 assets are in and out of the lot. Some are waiting to load goods and others are parked on the premises in order to comply with the driver rest rules.

Compared to a standard MSU the new MSU Clinic also has tools for welding, diagnostic software, various parts, and the possibility to replace air bellows. The mobile service workshop can perform the most common repairs on trailers, such as:

  • Light repairs, door holders, ABS diagnosis, small welding jobs, tires, air leaks, minor brake repairs, etc.

Frode Jensen, Managing Director at Nortemp Transport says: “It’s the perfect solution for us. Every day we have around 50 trailers passing C-log and there are always some repairs that need to be carried out on some of them. Therefore this setup is extremely convenient for us as the trailers can be repaired while the driver is sleeping”.

Contact information:

Tel.: +47 40912043

Email: christian.olesen@tipeurope.com

European Parliament proposes tougher CO2 emissions limits

European Parliament proposes tougher CO2 emissions limits

As part of its commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement (COP21), the EU aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 then meet the designated 80-95% reduction by 2050. As part of this reduction strategy, the EU plans to regulate the environmental impact of Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV) such as trucks, buses, and coaches.  Its objectives are to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, improve fuel efficiency and encourage the development of innovative technologies by EU manufacturers and suppliers. (source: EU) Large trucks are thought to be accountable for 65-70% of all CO emissions from HDVs in Europe. (source: Reuters)

European Commission proposal – May 2018

In May 2018, as part of its third mobility package, the European Commission announced its legislative proposal which presented the first ever CO2 emissions standards for HDVs in the EU. The targets proposed were for a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 and at least a 30% reduction by 2030. These targets are to be reviewed in 2022. At that point, the EU will review the latest technologies and decide whether the objectives need changing. (source: EU)

This mobility package also announced incentives to encourage truck manufacturers to build more zero and low-emission vehicles, financial subsidies, various testing and compliance measures, and financial penalties for not adhering to the law, to support the achievement of the targets.

ACEA opposition

The objectives soon came under fire from the ACEA (the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association). It protested that the longer-term goal of 30% was unrealistic and that 16% by 2030 would be more feasible.  Likewise, with the 2025 target, ACEA suggested 7% rather than 15%. (source: Handelsblatt) ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert said, “it would seem as though the Commission has simply taken the exact CO2 reduction levels it already proposed for cars and vans, and applied them directly to heavy-duty vehicles without recognizing the fundamental differences between these vehicle segments.”(source: Reuters)

EU procedure

In line with EU procedure, the proposed legislation was then sent to the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and other EU institutions for further discussion.

European Parliament proposal – October 2018

In October 2018, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted to impose a higher target (35%) than the European Commission (30%) for new lorries to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030, with a mid-stage target of 20% by 2025.

It also wants “20% of new HDVs to be zero- or low-emission by 2030.” “Manufacturers will also have to ensure that zero- and low-emission vehicles (which emit at least 50% less) represent a 20% market share of the sales of new cars and vans by 2030 and 5% in 2025.” (source: EU)

ACEA reaction

The ACEA responded by communicating its concerns about the European Parliament’s decision.  In a statement to the press, ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert said that “Europe’s truck industry is willing to commit to ambitious CO2 targets, provided that these are technologically and economically viable in the given timeframe.” However, the extremely stringent CO2 reduction levels for 2025 and 2030 that MEPs voted on today go even beyond the Commission’s proposal, which was already highly challenging.

“These targets would pose major problems, as they simply do not take account of the realities and complexities of the truck market, nor the long development cycles for heavy-duty vehicles,” Jonnaert explained. “MEPs should be aware that trucks that will hit the market in 2025 are already under development now.”

The ACEA supports the European Commission’s idea of introducing specific incentives to stimulate innovation and the uptake of alternatively-powered trucks. In this respect, the industry welcomes the introduction of a super-credit system as a means to encourage the widest possible deployment of low- and zero-emission trucks.

However, MEPs have voted to transform this into a benchmark system, setting a CO2 ‘malus’ (financial penalty) for manufacturers who fail to reach totally unrealistic zero- and low- emission vehicle sales targets.

“This does not take account of the fact that the electrification potential of heavy-duty vehicles is much lower than for cars, especially when it comes to long-haul delivery trucks. In addition, recharging infrastructure is lacking, in particular along motorways,” Jonnaert said.

Next steps

The full House of the European Parliament will vote on the report in November 2018 before the law is submitted to the Council of Ministers where EU member ministers will have discussions, make amendments and convert the proposal into a final EU law. (source: Reuters)

TIP Trailer Services and CO2 emission reduction

TIP will soon start providing electric trucks through rental or leasing, possibly in 2019. Meanwhile, it is already supplying electric Light Commercial Vehicles (eLCVs) on a short-term rental of less than a year or on a long-term leasing basis (1 to 10 years). The long-term lease includes servicing and repair.

Customers can rely on TIP’s extensive fleet management experience and its network of workshops across Europe that are equipped to service electric vehicles. They can also benefit from its expertise in telematics and fleet management software.

TIP can buy your conventional LCVs and dispose of them as part of a part-exchange option. For more information on how you can reduce your fleet’s CO2 emissions with TIP’s electric vehicle offer, please contact your local TIP Trailer Services manager using this form.

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Road safety: predictive accident alert

Road safety: predictive accident alert

Bosch advanced driver assistance systems for trucks

Trailer accidents have a major negative impact on road transport fleets in terms of human and operational costs as well as damage to vehicles. We all want to prevent and minimise accidents. One way to do so is to use predictive analytics.

What are predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics use many techniques from data mining, statistics, modelling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analysing current data and make predictions about the future. (source: Predictiveanalyticstoday)

According to Lauren Domnick, senior director of analytics and modelling for Omnitracs “In trucking, the advent of big data is enabling the development and implementation of predictive analytics for a range of applications, especially safe driving and driver retention.” (source: TTNews)

Predictive analytics, familiar forms

In the road freight transport industry, we are already familiar with predictive analytics in the form of “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems” (“ADAS”). They help make truck driving safer and less stressful today. These ADAS include applications such as traction control, ABS brakes, electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control and telematics.

Predictive emergency braking systems, which detect obstacles through sensors and automatically activate brakes on a vehicle ahead of a possible collision, have been with us for some time. In the EU, trucks with a gross weight of more than eight metric tonnes have had to be equipped with predictive emergency braking by law since 2015. (source: Roboticsandautomationnews)

Distracted driving

It is likely that whilst driving, at some point, we have all been distracted by a smartphone, and hence put ourselves and our vehicles at risk of an accident. However, distraction may be caused by other factors such as adjusting your car infotainment, your GPS settings or it might be your mind wondering off, thinking about a work or family issue and distracting you from concentrating on the road.

For more than a decade, fleet operators have been able to use telematics to remotely identify potentially negative events in their trucks such as hard braking, excessive acceleration, poor route planning or insufficient tyre pressure. They have used this data to coach their drivers into improving their performances.

Now, predictive analytics systems from companies such as OmniTracs or SmartDrive can proactively predict situations where there is a risk of collision or when a driver is exhausted or distracted. (source: FleetOwner)

From behaviour detection to accident prevention

To prevent accidents caused by behavioural issues like distraction, fleet managers and drivers can take immediate action. For example, Cellcontrol has developed an app which can be installed along with a proximity-sensing device to automatically hold calls, texts and email while the driver and his or her smartphone are on the move. A company called Netradyne has launched a video-based commercial driver monitoring system that provides audible reminders and notifications when it senses a risky situation. (source: FleetOwner)

In addition, some companies are developing weather prediction systems which combine historic and actual data on weather and its impact on roads, which will then feedback information in near real-time to drivers to anticipate driving conditions and drive more safely. (source: Trucks.com)

Coaching and driver retention

Other positive applications of predictive analytics include the use of the data gathered to coach drivers and help retain them. Thanks to the information provided by onboard telematics, the fleet manager knows when drivers start and stop during their working days.  Predictive analytics help fleet managers to identify signs of behaviour indicating that a tired driver might need a rest or may want to leave the company. The fleet manager can take appropriate action resolve the issues underlying the behaviour. (source: TTNews)

Camera futures

In-truck cab cameras and cameras installed on the truck and trailer are also at the heart of many predictive, analytics-based accident alert systems. In some cases, the camera starts shooting when triggered by a particular type of event such as collision, a near collision, tailgating, etc. This can then be combined with historical data to help drivers enhance the safety of their driving styles. (source: TTNews)

TIP and predictive analytics

With over 50 years’ experience in the trailer rental and trailer maintenance business, TIP Trailer Services can help you install and operate predictive analytics-based solutions to help prevent accidents for trailers and trucks from a range of providers.

TIP leasing and rental

With a transport fleet of over 66,000 units, TIP is one of Europe’s largest transport equipment trailer rental and trailer leasing companies providing fleet managers with the flexibility to meet fluctuating demand for trailers. TIP can supply you with trailer maintenance and repair services through its network of over 70 workshops across 16 countries providing round the clock support, 365 days per year. It also operates a  pan-European roadside assistance programme to help you get your trailers back on the road as soon as possible in the event of a breakdown. For more information about TIP and predictive analytics, please contact us using this form. 

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New weather forecasting applications will improve driver safety 

New weather forecasting applications will improve driver safety 

Forecasts tell us what weather to expect, where and when, in impressive detail. However, with satellite technology and predictive analytics combined, weather forecasting is set to become even more sophisticated. It will give fleet managers and drivers near real time data on the weather and its influence on the road and driving conditions, so helping them deliver their cargoes more safely. 

Beyond one dimensional forecasts 

Many drivers rely on their smartphones and free mobile weather apps from forecasters such as Météo-France or Weervoorspelling. These apps are excellent but are relatively one dimensional, giving little detail on the implications of the weather on traffic and road conditions. 

To multi-dimensional

This is where organisations such as WeatherTelematics and The Weather Company are intervening. IBM-owned The Weather Company, known for its consumer-focused service www.weather.com, has already created a mobile app that delivers weather predictions especially for drivers. It is now working to bring weather and road conditions data into predicting traffic patterns along specific routes. The app is interesting because it follows and analyses the weather via six factors that specifically impact truck driving, namely fog, high winds, the build-up of pools of water on the roads, wet roads, ice and snow. It provides a picture of the road conditions for drivers a couple of hours ahead. There is also an alert service that can trigger voice notifications of weather-related risks to drivers. (source: Trucks.com)

Greater safety

These new weather forecasting applications will improve driver safety by enabling drivers to take informed decisions about safe driving. These decisions include:

  • Modifying their speed and driving approach in less favourable weather.
  • Taking alternative routes to avoid accidents on road sections that become dangerous in particular weather conditions.
  • Deciding whether or not to be on the road in the case of extreme weather conditions.

Improve ROI

Analysts Frost & Sullivan report that telematics devices are enabling fleets to reduce fuel costs by up to 25% with a 30% reduction in idling time. FleetOwner magazine reports that detailed weather forecasting and data services give fleet operators a return on investment (ROI) many times the costs of the services provided, whilst providing significant operational cost savings and improving safety.

For example, if, as a fleet manager, you find out about perilous conditions or the weather impacting traffic patterns on the roads, you can communicate this information to your drivers and help them find an alternative route thereby reducing delays, trailer downtime, fuel costs and potential damage to your reputation through delayed deliveries.

Insurance implications

Data on weather combined with other information generated by telematics and sensors on trucks and trailers can provide useful empirical evidence when fleet managers handle accident claims with insurance companies, rather than the typical reconstruction of events that rely solely on opinions and frequently unsubstantiated observations. (source: FleetOwner)

Future developments

In addition to truck specific weather forecasting applications based on weather analytics becoming more widely adopted, there will be opportunities for those businesses which have information about disruptive weather patterns and can predict their impact on supply chains For example TransFX is developing a “trading platform that will enable shippers, carriers and third-party logistics firms to lock in freight rates ahead of major weather events and other natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or social and infrastructure breakdowns.” (source: TTNews)

New trends

Among several signs that “predictive road conditions services” are going to be a major market,s Google has filed a patent application entitled “Systems and methods for predicting weather performance for a vehicle”. 

In addition, Bosch, the automotive OEM, announced in July 2018 that it will partner with Foreca’s road weather experts to develop predictive road condition services. Whilst its emphasis is on cars, it is interesting to note that Bosch believes it will take some 20 million connected cars to cover roughly 80,000 kilometres of road in Europe to obtain the appropriate levels of data to launch a fully predictive road condition service. “For this reason alone, road weather forecasts will initially [sic: at the time of the service’s planned launch in 2020] be the only reliable source of information for drawing sound conclusions about road conditions, especially in rural areas where there is less traffic.”

Weathering the storms with TIP Trailer rental

Trailer rental is a powerful and flexible solution. It gives you access to the best trailers and latest trailer technology without the high upfront purchase costs and ownership overheads. 

Customers choosing to rent trailers through TIP Trailer Services can take advantage of preferential rental terms within lease contracts to take on more trailers or reduce the number as demand fluctuates. 

A trailer for every occasion

TIP hires out trailers for every occasion including semi-trailers, curtainsiders/tilt, moving/walking floor, flat, reefer, tanker, chemical, tipping powder, powder waste and many other types of trailers as well as trucks.

To find out how TIP can help you weather the storms with TIP Trailer rental, please contact us using this form.

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The cost of keeping trailer mechanics up to date

The cost of keeping trailer mechanics up to date Has the growth of your business led you to consider the flexibility and other practical benefits of outsourcing trailer maintenance? Or maybe even a mix of in-house and outsourced maintenance?

Own workshop – key factors

Here are some of the factors to think about when operating your own trailer and truck maintenance workshop.


You will need a workshop with at least one repair bay including a vehicle inspection pit. Is one bay sufficient for your fleet as you expand your business? Is your yard large enough to accommodate additional bays?

Equipping the workshop with the appropriate tools and workshop machinery is a substantial investment. Among the many items that are essential to the smooth running of a workshop are hoists and lifts, diagnostic equipment, air compressors, pneumatic accessories including tyre removers, cooling system tools, power generators, and lathes.

The stock of spare parts

It is helpful to hold a stock of essential spare parts which correspond to the makes and models of the trailers in your fleet.

Workshop risks

In its leaflet’ titled “Motor Vehicle Maintenance Workshops”, insurance company Aviva mentions that every year over 2,000 accidents in workshops are reported to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive. It outlines a very long list of the risks that Aviva has identified across different aspects of workshops including servicing and mechanical repair, body repair, painting, storage, and housekeeping.

To minimise these risks, the workshop operator is obliged to follow certain health and safety regulations. In the UK, for example, this includes the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).

Skilled trailer technicians/mechanics

How much of your time and budget do you want to spend on recruiting, managing, retaining and training skilled trailer technicians or mechanics? If your maintenance requirements fluctuate with your business, do you have a flexible source of mechanics?

It is interesting to note the basic cost of employing a truck mechanic in different countries across Europe. For example, the average annual wage excluding tax, social charges and the employer’s social charges for a truck mechanic is 31,992, in the UK; €25,599 in France; €36,107 in Germany and €29,733 in Italy.

To outsource trailer maintenance or not?

The main question is: do you, as a fleet manager, want to carry the administrative and financial burden of operating your own trailer workshop(s) or would you prefer to outsource all or part of your trailer maintenance to a specialist such as TIP Trailer Services, enabling you to increase your focus on other parts of your business where you can add more value?

TIP trailer maintenance expertise

Outsourcing trailer maintenance is very much on trend. TIP Trailer Services maintains its customers’ trailers and trucks from 84 locations spread across 17 countries. It gives our customers international reach and convenience, flexibility and peace of mind as we can provide them with any trailer service that they need, wherever they are. Our customers range from multinational transport companies with large fleets to owner-drivers with one trailer.

Scalable and flexible maintenance resources

Not content with just managing our own fleet of over 70,000 trailers, we also provide maintenance and repair and other value-added services for approximately 45,000 customer-owned trailer units. (source: TIP annual report 2017). As such, we have significant scalable and flexible resources including mechanics and workshops to handle your maintenance and repair requirements on an outsourced basis.

TIP Trailer maintenance stats

We certainly have proven maintenance experience and expertise. During 2017, TIP:

  • serviced 109,000 trailers,
  • inspected more than 1,040,000 tyres,
  • handled close to 2,000,000 work orders and about 270,000 internal workshop events,
  • spent €84,400,000 on parts,
  • managed 86,000 roadside incidents.

(source: TIP annual report 2017)

Improving fleet performance and reducing operating costs

We provide a suite of services to improve our clients’ fleet performance whilst reducing their total cost of ownership as well as trailer downtime.  Using our 84 workshops and a fleet of over 160 mobile service units across Europe, we are able to offer a comprehensive repair and maintenance service, be it for a single trailer on a one-off basis or through a tailored contracted outsourced programme suitable for an entire fleet.

Third-party maintenance

When it comes to third-party maintenance and repair we offer a broad suite of services including non-contracted maintenance and repair; quality maintenance, repairs, and parts. All our services are provided at competitive prices.

Contracted trailer maintenance

We also provide a contracted maintenance and repair service for customer-owned units to give customers the certainty of fixed monthly rates, thus helping facilitate their budgeting. These modular services can also include pan-European roadside assistance if desired.

Our trailer maintenance and repair service offers:

  • Annual roadworthiness inspections
  • Periodic equipment checks and inspections for brakes, axles and general trailer body based on manufacturers recommendations and expected annual mileage
  • Fleet management
  • Tyre maintenance
  • Roadside assistance services
  • Damage repair management
  • Reefer engine servicing
  • Tail lift servicing

For more information on how you can receive industry-leading, trailer maintenance services,  please contact your local TIP Trailer Services manager using this form.

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Are solar powered trailers the next new thing?

Are solar powered trailers the next new thing?

Having experienced an unusually hot summer in Europe this year, it is only natural to consider how trailers might benefit from solar power. Such a consideration is timely because there have been several striking developments in the world of trailers and solar power.

Reefers and solar

Thermo King, the transport temperature control provider, recently launched an addition to its ThermoLite solar panel range. They designed this new 110w model to supply a sustainable power management solution for reefer units while cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. (source: Fleet Transport)

Even in low light, the solar panels collect energy to keep the reefer unit’s battery fully charged and take away the need to use the engine for recharging. Thermo King claims that these new panels will reduce fuel consumption by up to 23% and CO2 emissions by 560kg when compared to reefer units operating without the ThermoLite solar panels. You can also link the unit to telematics and manage the refrigeration and other functions remotely. (source: Thermo King)


Shell Lubricants and the AirFlow Truck Company have collaborated under the Starship Initiative to develop a hyper-fuel efficient US Class 8 semi-truck, Starship, which they designed to “explore the future of what’s possible in truck design, fuel economy savings and CO2 reduction”. This next-generation truck has a radical custom aerodynamic design. It features significant numbers of solar panels. There is a 5,000-watt solar array which covers the entire roof of its trailer, measuring 25 metres long by 2.6 metres wide. The solar panels charge and store power for normal electrical components. (source: Shell)

In May 2018, a laden Starship semi-truck drove 3,700 km (2,300 miles) from San Diego, California to Jacksonville, Florida to test its energy efficiency. Shell and the AirFlow Truck Company make impressive claims, reporting that the Starship truck demonstrated a 248% improvement in freight tonne efficiency on the trip.(source: Shell)

Solar powered electric trucks?

At the futuristic end of the “trailer and solar” related spectrum is a concept discussed by Rick Mihelic of Mihelic Vehicle Consulting in Freightwaveswho advocates turning trailers into electric truck charging units. His vision is to have the roofs of large warehouses covered with solar panels. The energy they generate could then be transferred to batteries integrated into trailers sitting in the yard. This way, a truck will have an energy source when connected to a fully-charged trailer.

“If most of the energy power is [stored] in the trailer, you could talk about extending the range,” he said. “The tractor [truck] drops that trailer and picks up another trailer that is now fully-charged and goes to drop that at a regional outlet”, where it collects another fully-charged trailer and so on.

Mihelic says much innovation is still required to turn this vision into reality. Innovation needs to occur in technologies such as zero-emissions vehicles, fuel cells, batteries, regulatory changes such as weight and size limits and automatic data mining. One also needs to consider the extra costs of adding new technologies.

TIP and solar power

TIP Trailer Services celebrates its 50thanniversary this year. Our commitment to industry innovation and new technology has been a major part of our success. TIP’s Research & Development teams are researching the impacts of technologies such as solar power on trailers and look forward to delivering their benefits to our customers.

TIP reefer rental solutions and solar power

Solar power is often associated with reefers or refrigerated containers. TIP offers flexible reefer or refrigerated container rental and leasing solutions at competitive rates to support your fleet. In addition to the standard reefer which keeps the container load at a single temperature, we can provide reefers that are suited to very specific customer needs including dual compartment reefers, double stock reefers, multi-temp & double stock reefers, flower-specific reefers or reefers with meat rails.

Keeping reefers roadworthy

We can maintain and repair your reefers and refrigerated containers. We are vendor neutral but have all the expertise and specialised workshop tools, diagnostic equipment and technology to help you keep your equipment in top condition to maximise their time on the road.

Other TIP trailer rental options

In addition to reefers, we offer trailers on a rental basis in all forms including flatbeds, curtainsiders, box trailers, tankers, tipping powder, non-tipping, containers, moving/walking floor, waste and chemical to fill gaps in your fleet, as well as light commercial vehicles and trucks. This is an extremely useful option for fleet managers needing to fulfil a last-minute customer delivery request.

For fleet managers looking for a longer-term trailer solution, we can provide trailers on a lease basis.

Trust us with your trailer maintenance and repair

TIP Trailer Services includes trailer maintenance and repair management services as a part of our trailer rental contracts. Whilst your rental trailer is being serviced, we supply you with alternatives to ensure that your business continues to operate as usual. For further information on flexible trailer rental with TIP Trailer Services rental fleet, please contact us using this form.

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