Well-maintained trailers deliver a European e-commerce boom

European online retailing is enjoying a long phase of seemingly ever-lasting growth. Judging by recent media coverage, this growth looks unstoppable and provides a wonderful business opportunity for road freight transport companies with well-maintained trailer fleets. 

EU retail growth

Forrester Research predicts that e-commerce in Western Europe will grow 11.3% per year on average over the next five years, representing 13.9% of total retail sales by 2022. Excluding groceries, this number will rise to 20% of total retail sales in this region. [source: EcommerceNews.EU] 

Cross-border delivery

The prospects for e-commerce delivery across European borders are also promising. In-depth EU research into the internet purchasing habits of over 260,000 European respondents tells us that 33% of e-buyers made purchases from sellers in other EU countries in 2017 compared with 25% in 2012. Likewise, 22% of e-buyers bought from vendors outside the EU in 2017 compared to 12% in 2012.

Unsurprisingly, Luxembourgers made the most cross-border purchases with 74% buying from non-Luxembourg-based retailers. Turkey accounts for the lowest proportion of cross-border purchases (2%), just behind Romania (3%). [Source: EShopWorld]

In a further boost to European e-commerce and cross-border deliveries, the EU announced in March 2018 that it will establish a parcel delivery prices comparison website. This will enable consumers and businesses to have a reference point for domestic and cross-border delivery tariffs before opting for the best deal. According to an EU consultation, over two-thirds of consumers had given up on making online cross-border purchases because the delivery costs were too high.  A 2015 study found that cross-border parcel prices are on average 3 to 5 times higher than their domestic equivalents for all products. 

Top online sellers

Leading the European online sales league table is Amazon, which posted an online turnover of €38.5 billion in 2015. It is followed by Apple (€6.4 billion turnover), Dixons Carphone (€3.9 billion) and Cdiscount/Groupe Casino (€2.4 billion) [source: EShopWorld]

Analysing European online retailers from several angles, the IREU Top500 2017 list of European retailers found that Apple, Boots, H&M, Ikea, Nike, and Zara were statistically ahead of all the others and “represent the pinnacle of European multichannel retailing”. [Source: IREU Top500]

The greatest choice

Of the 800,000 online stores in Europe, 175,000 are in Germany. The UK is in second place with 108,000 online stores. The Netherlands takes third place with over 82,000 online stores. Researchers attribute this third place to several factors. They are the Netherlands’ high internet penetration rate and the fact that large e-commerce players including Amazon and eBay were comparatively slow to establish themselves in the Dutch market, thus enabling Dutch entrepreneurs to create local e-commerce sites that have enjoyed enduring popularity in the Netherlands. In fourth place is France with 75,000 online stores. [source:Ecommercenews.eu/Dataprovider]

Most popular buying categories

What online-purchased goods are you most likely to be transporting in your trailers?

The EU’s E-commerce Statistics for Individuals survey found that “clothes and sports goods” (64% of e-buyers) was the most popular online buying category. “Travel and accommodation” was the second category with 53% of e-buyers, followed by “household goods” (46%), “tickets for events” (39%) and “books, magazines and newspapers” (34%).

Keeping trailers in TIP top condition

To benefit from the exciting business opportunities provided by online retailing, you need to keep your trailers well-maintained in TIP top condition and, maximise their time on the road.

Having a trailer maintenance programme in place will minimise the likelihood of experiencing an unexpected trailer breakdown. All trailers need regular care, attention, and servicing. Consider outsourcing the maintenance and repair management programme to reliable, well-qualified experts such as TIP Trailer Services.

TIP provides a regularly scheduled trailer maintenance programme.  This helps you anticipate technical issues, keep costs under control and ensure that all trailers are fit for the road throughout the seasons.

Key trailer maintenance services

TIP’s trailer maintenance programme includes servicing, repair, regulatory compliance such as MOT, compulsory tests and periodic equipment tests.

The programme also covers tyre maintenance services and access to our Europe-wide roadside assistance services solution 24/7, 365 days per year.  We can manage repairs through our fixed price damage repair process. TIP can take responsibility for much of the non-core and time-consuming elements of your fleet administration. For further information on how you can keep your trailers in TIP top condition to win more online retail delivery contracts, please contact us using this form.

Predictive maintenance to avoid unpredictable trailer repairs

Predictive maintenance to avoid unpredictable trailer repairs - TIP

For many years fleet managers have relied on calendars or mechanical breakdowns to decide when to maintain their trailers. In a highly competitive transport market with low-profit margins, a maintenance strategy which includes predictive maintenance can maximise your trailer uptime and so deliver competitive advantage.

A trailer broken down by the roadside is a safety hazard to your driver and vehicle and other road users. Breakdowns can be costly in terms of unexpected repairs and loss of fleet productivity. A well-planned maintenance strategy also prolongs trailer working lifetime and reduces overall maintenance costs.

McKinsey’s 2017 report “Artificial Intelligence: The Next Digital Frontier” predicts that artificial intelligence will prompt a switch from “preventative” to “predictive” maintenance in the future. What are these concepts and where are we now?


Predictive maintenance trailer

Predictive maintenance “takes years of data from a wide variety of trucks and aggregates it to predict how much potential there is for an upcoming failure for particular components” and prompt fleet managers to take action. This process was traditionally limited to human intervention and manual reporting tools. However, now technology exists to analyse potential failures from real-time information communicated from your truck and trailer and automate what were formerly manual processes. [source: Fleet Equipment Magazine]

Increasingly our clients are opting for “predictive maintenance” programmes, which take advantage of a variety of technologies including telematics. The remote diagnostic software is available on many trailers and trucks today, feeding live information to fleet managers.

Real-time data generated by today’s trailers and trucks can reveal a lot about their condition: from fuel consumption, speed driven, tyre pressure and overloads to cooling temperatures. Typically, the software integrates this data with information provided by the trailer’s original equipment manufacturer which describes what to expect in terms of component wear and tear under various mileage, weather and usage scenarios.  Additional information comes from historic data generated by other similar trailers in your fleet.

Data is converted into algorithms by the predictive maintenance software to build a sophisticated picture of the maintenance required to avoid unforeseen issues. For example, predictive maintenance can help fleet managers decode when to replace a worn-out turbo, renew the exhaust system or service the reefer unit to prevent a possible breakdown.

Cost benefits

Predictive maintenance repairs systems before problems develop and lead to unexpectedly high costs. Predictive maintenance at a predictable cost allows you to rotate your fleet to reduce repair frequency across all trailers and level-load your maintenance workshop.  You no longer need to hold a large spare parts inventory and simply order parts on a “just in time” basis, saving costs and warehouse space.

Jennifer Roubaud of Dataiku wrote a blog on Fleetnews on the benefits of predictive maintenance and cited the example of Traffilog America, a developer of predictive maintenance systems. They use it to monitor driver performance and safety as well as optimise delivery routes.  Traffilog America’s predictive maintenance software monitored a driving pedal position on a bus. Insights from the data generated resulted in the bus company adjusting pedal usage which saved its fleet an impressive 30% in fuel costs. For another company, predictive maintenance reduced brake pad replacement by 30%.


Preventative maintenance trailer

Many of our clients at TIP choose preventative maintenance.  The preventative maintenance approach is based on a maintenance schedule, often linked to manufacturers’ specifications. This might include changing the oil every three months or inspecting the tyres after five years’ use.  This is a good solution which we deliver for a pre-determined cost. It reduces unplanned repairs and interventions.


Predictive and preventative maintenance cocktail

The two styles of maintenance are not mutually exclusive. You could run a preventative maintenance programme through which you take your trailers in for a service and replace parts according to a pre-defined calendar. In parallel, you could use predictive maintenance to alert you to any maintenance and repairs that might need doing ahead of schedule.


Pay as you go

Whilst we offer predictive and preventive trailer maintenance programmes, sometimes “pay as you go” maintenance or repair will be the right solution. To minimise disruption, you might want to have your trailer serviced at a specific location on your delivery route. Your trailer could suffer a one-off mechanical issue on the road to Milan causing a potentially costly delay to your delivery and reputation. At TIP, we are exceptionally well placed to assist you in these situations, thanks to our pan-European maintenance and breakdown recovery service.  We have a network of over 70 workshops across 16 countries providing round the clock support, 365 days per year. With support provided in 18 national languages, our dedicated and experienced TIP staff will deliver roadside assistance to get your drivers back on the road as soon as possible.

We guarantee low cost, fixed rates through our local vendor agreements and fixed call out charges. You can monitor the progress of the servicing or repair online and simply “pay as you go” when you use the service. For more information on how TIP can provide you with “predictive,” “preventative” or “pay as you go” maintenance and repairs, please contact TIP using this form.

Setting up TIP Trailer Rental UK: Interview with Jim Cleary

With TIP celebrating 50 years this year, we are taking a look at how it was back in the days when TIP was just starting out with a couple of branches in Europe and 300 trailers on rent. Today we are talking with Jim Cleary, the founder of TIP Trailer Rental in the UK.

Could you tell us about yourself and the story of TIP Trailer Rental in The UK?

I started in transport at the age of 16 and worked in various companies. I met Michael Morris (Executive Vice President of TIP) in London in 1969. Typical of him he had me with him on all sorts of meetings he went to, even though I wasn’t offered a job at that point. I asked: “What happens now?”  and he said: “I’ll see you in the United States”. I said: “Does that mean you offer me a job?” and he said: “Yes it does”.  So I went for training to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia, and then for a week to the branch in Rotterdam.

The first order we got and what this invoice is about (picture down below) was taken by my wife in our home nursing our newly born 3rd child and taking notes from this company saying they want to rent a trailer. And that was our very first ever deal.

And this how I started with the company and then spent 22 years there. Because we were so successful operating in The UK and the rest of the operation wasn’t going as good as it should have gone I was asked to look after France and eventually became TIP Europe Managing Director.

What are the most memorable things that happened with you in TIP?

For me personally, the most memorable thing was joining the company because nobody did rental business in this country. Also securing first contracts and then eventually moving up in various positions within the company.

How TIP has evolved since the 90-s?

It’s been quite remarkable. It’s a tribute to everybody that worked there. And particularly Bob Fast and his colleagues have done a remarkable job to have this type of operation in 100 locations. I dropped a note to Bob on the latest figures –it is way beyond anything I would ever think of.

What advice would you give your younger self?

What advice… I think to look up occasionally from the rental business and see the world outside. I was not particularly keen on selling trailers or providing any additional services which I should have been.

This year we celebrate TIP 50th Anniversary. What words come to mind when you think about that?

Amazing – that’s the word that comes to mind. Here we are. I am 82 years old and I started with this company when I was 33. When I see the growth of the company, that is quite tremendous, I feel proud to have been a part of it. I am delighted that they had such a success since.

Road safety and heavy goods vehicles

Road safety and heavy goods vehicles

Road safety is important for the well-being of society, economic growth, and prosperity. Unfortunately, there is still a high level of road accidents. As prominent members of the road transport industry, we can contribute through our fleets and safety-aware drivers to safer roads.

Global accident levels

On a global basis, road traffic deaths total 1.2 million annually. They are the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 29. International organisations such as the UN and EU and individual countries are actively campaigning to reduce these numbers. The UN aims to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 [source: International Road Transport Union]

EU road safety statistics

Since 2010, the EU has wanted to reduce traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020. It is struggling to reach that objective. Today there are approximately 26,000 road fatalities in the European Union each year of which 15% of these are heavy goods vehicle- (“HGV”) related.

The number of HGV-related fatalities in 2014 totalled 3,863 of which 1,898 (49%) caused fatalities to car occupants and 1,230 (32%) led to fatalities to “vulnerable road users,” namely pedestrians, cyclists, moped riders, and motorcyclists.

In 90% of accident scenarios involving HGVs, human error is a leading cause. This factor usually interacts with one or both of the following factors: the “environment” such as type of road, weather conditions, time of day and “vehicle” which might include the condition of the brakes, tyres, etc.

10-20% of the HGV-related accidents cause fatalities or severe injuries to HGV occupants, with 55-60% being “single accidents,” some form of driver error such as losing concentration and driving off-the-road. 50-55% of the HGV-related accidents cause fatalities or severe injuries to car occupants with 35-45% being “oncoming accidents” where a car will collide with a truck travelling in the opposite direction. Finally, 30-35% of HGV-related accidents cause fatalities or severe injuries to vulnerable road users with 30% being “crossing accidents” in which someone will have crossed a road. [source: Volvo Trucks Safety Report 2017]


Measures to improve traffic safety

In the same report, Volvo advocates several measures including:

  • The increased wearing of seat belts.
  • Improving driver awareness of other vehicles and road users and vice versa. Separately, in December 2017, a group of 18 major European cities wrote a letter to the European Commission urging it to create an EU “direct vision standard” for trucks to eliminate truck driver blind spots through technology.
  • Developing active safety systems including:
    • Advanced Emergency Brake Systems (“AEBS”) that can detect unexpected users or events at the rear of the trailers and trucks and activate the brakes automatically without driver intervention. This was also requested by the 18 European cities.
    • Systems that can detect vulnerable road users.
    • Co-operative Intelligent Traffic Systems (“C-ITS”)
  • Driver safety training

Fleet operators, their drivers, and safety – a checklist

As part of its campaign to help save lives on the road, the International Road Transport Union (“IRU”) has published The Truck Driver’s Checklist for Road Safety, which focuses on the key elements to consider in three sections:

  1. “Well-being” to ensure that you are as alert as possible for driving. The recommendations include healthy eating and drinking; regular exercise; sitting comfortably; taking regular breaks; using seat belts; respecting legal driving hours limits and not driving when feeling drowsy.
  2. “Journey mechanics”. Have you checked the key mechanical components of your truck and trailer including brakes, tyres, mirrors, and lights? Is your load well-distributed and secure? Do you have the right documents? Have you planned and checked your route?
  3. “Safe driving advice”. These “common sense” reminders include being aware of your blind spots; keeping a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you; trying to anticipate problems; at night, dipping your headlights in good time; adapting your driving to the weather conditions and using secure parking conditions where possible.

Driver safety training

Training helps drivers meet high safety standards and makes our roads safer. There are plenty of organisations that provide truck driver safety training including:

  • The IRU Academy trains and certifies thousands of commercial drivers and transport operators every year through its network of over 65 training institutes in more than 45 countries,
  • Among the many providers of truck driver safety training across Europe aisDEKRA Akademie; Wabco Academy and BestDriver which cover Europe including Poland and Ukraine.
  • The Big Seven European truck manufacturers DAF, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Scania, and Volvo run driver safety courses as part of their driver training programmes for clients.

 TIP and driver road safety

TIP can contribute to truck driver road safety by providing your fleet with preventative trailer maintenance on an outsourced basis and through rental or leasing new trailer models.

Preventative maintenance maximises trailers’ availability for delivering goods to customers. Most issues with trailers are maintenance related and can be prevented in a more cost-effective way prior to travelling than discovering an unexpected problem on the road.  Any undetected mechanical problems with trailers are potential road safety hazards.

Through trailer rental or leasing, TIP can ensure that you have flexible access to new trailer models and the latest safety technology including tyre pressure monitoring systems and telematics.


To find out more about how TIP can help you with truck driver safety and trailers, please contact us using this form.

Driver shortage Worldwide part 4

driver shortage

The truck driver shortage is a global issue. Let’s take a round-the-world trip to discover different driver recruitment campaigns and find inspiration…


A Canadian fleet operator called Arnold Bros Transport collaborated with the Ministry of Labour in Jamaica and an intermediary company to bring drivers to work in Canada. Its recruitment campaign in 2014 included Arnold Bros sending its recruitment department to Jamaica on several visits to meet with applicants and to present on life in Canada and the transport industry. [source: Arnold Bros]

New Zealand

At the end of 2017, the New Zealand government realised it faced a shortfall of 1,000 truck drivers, which it cannot meet through local candidates. So New Zealand recruitment firm Canstaff offered a relocation package to qualified heavy goods vehicle (“HGV”) drivers from Ireland with at least two years’ experience. Among the many attractions of New Zealand to Irish drivers (who typically earn approximately €12 per hour) are increased earnings of €15 to €20 per hour, guaranteed shifts and the benefits of a relaxed, outdoor lifestyle. In some cases, road freight companies will pay the costs of flights to New Zealand. [source: Irish Times]


In Brazil, where they are 100,000 drivers short, there are echoes of the Canadian and New Zealand initiatives. Brazilian trucking companies are hiring Colombian truckers in areas such as Parana, a major agricultural and trading state on the border with Argentina and Paraguay. What differentiates this scheme is that Parana is taking responsibility for giving Colombian truck drivers additional training through a state-subsidised programme. [source: Latin American Herald Tribune]



In Ayrshire, south-west Scotland, Scottish road freight transport companies and charities came together in 2017 to create an initiative to train the homeless and disadvantaged to drive trucks in a bid to reduce a shortage of 11,000 skilled HGV drivers in Scotland and fulfill the increased demand for deliveries generated by online shopping. The second phase of this campaign will launch in Edinburgh and offer training to former army veterans, adjusting to life as civilians after careers in the military.

The £3,000 cost of HGV licenses will be paid for by the transport companies, charities and, Scottish Government funds. Mr. Najed Al Sultan, a refugee from Homs in Syria is the first person to benefit from the scheme. He arrived in Scotland with his family in March 2017 and had prior truck driving experience in Syria and Lebanon. [source: Sunday Post]


In a bid to solve its truck driver shortage in 2017, the Japanese government created a new license category for driving “quasi-medium-size trucks” for vehicles weighing 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes including passengers and cargo. Previously you could not drive a truck in Japan until you were 20. Now people aged 18 with no experience can get a license to drive the new category “quasi-medium-size trucks.”

To create a space for the new truck category, the upper limit for regular trucks was lowered from 5 to 3.5 tonnes and the lower limit for medium-size trucks increased from 5 to 7.5 tonnes. [source: Japan Times]


There are always interesting ideas being implemented in the USA:

  • The US army has become a good source of drivers. As of 2015, 10,000 US army soldiers and veterans had successfully obtained “commercial drivers licenses” through a US military scheme that grants credit and exemptions from certain parts of the driving test, based on their experience of driving in uniform. [source: US Army]


  • Judging by a Transport Topics discussion on recruiting young drivers, you will need to employ a social-media savvy millennial to recruit millennial drivers. 75 percent of truckers say that they check Facebook every day with 62 percent of millennials relying on social media to find jobs. Reach them through their smartphones which they access on average 45 times a day and prioritise communicating with them through video and other forms of visual content that are suitable for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.


  • One of the solutions to driver shortage is to attract more female drivers. Ideas to make working conditions more women-friendly include women drivers working in two-person driving teams including some mother-daughter pairings, which is successful at Covenant Transportation Group Inc. Additionally “Cleaner terminals, schedules that guarantee home time, automatic transmissions and safer truck stops have been crucial to attracting and retaining female drivers,” said Derek Leathers, COO, Werner Enterprises Inc. [source: Transport Topics]


For more information on how TIP Trailer Services can help your fleet with smart solutions to cope with driver shortages, please contact us using this form.

Long-Serving Heroes: interview with Theo van Giesen

If your company, like TIP Trailer Services, is celebrating 50 years of existence, it will be challenging to find veterans with the same number of working years. Still, some colleagues are close to it! One of our colleagues, Theo van Giesen, Workshop Manager at TIP in the Waalhaven is not far off. He started as a junior mechanic and became workshop manager at Cetem Trailer Verhuur until Cetem was taken over by TIP in 1989. In total, Theo has 36 years of experience in trailers. Reason enough for an interview in the Rotterdam Waalhaven.


How was your first day at TIP Trailer Services?

I will never forget it. Of course, it was quite exciting that Cetem was taken over by TIP. But when we had to fill out all the lease agreements by hand and put them in individual boxes, I knew that we were not improving in IT. At Cetem, that part was already automated, haha.


Has your work changed over the years?

Well, the work on the trailers has remained mostly the same, although new technology has been added, such as TPMS and Telematics. In those years I followed many TIP training courses so I became Assistant Branch Manager, Assistant Branch Manager Tank trailers, Assistant Branch Manager Zestienhoven, Checker Supervisor, Branch Manager Rotterdam Waalhaven, Workshop Manager Botlek up to my current position Workshop Manager Waalhaven.


So many functions within TIP, you probably had some great memories?

A crazy moment was the time that every minute a new Van Hool trailer was delivered. Another great moment was my worldwide nomination in 2002 for the Phillippe Nomination for my contribution to our participation in the Roparun (fundraising running race between Rotterdam and Paris). And professionally, it was nice to establish an overview of the ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ procedures and present them internally within TIP Benelux. This overview made it clear to everyone what damage is and what is covered by maintenance.


Innovation is essential at TIP. What do you consider the biggest challenge in your work?

I notice that the company is continually changing to improve processes. It’s a challenge to go along with the team and keep on learning. This way you do everything to achieve the maximum for the customer and the company. That is the biggest challenge every day.


Has TIP changed a lot over the years?

I think numbers and lists very much drive the company today. On the one hand, TIP needs it to make a fair analysis and decision; but on the other hand, it is a pity that there is hardly any steering of the business by gut feeling.


What advice do you want to give to new colleagues who have just started TIP?

Be open to change. We always want to improve at TIP. It is important that you think along with every change and become part of the process. Take a good look around you, think a step further than the competition and proactively contribute ideas.  That is certainly appreciated!


Pump up the trailer volume

Pump up the trailer volume

Do you want your fleet to carry more freight per delivery, reduce your costs per tonne-kilometre and, in the process, generate lower emissions? Why not, in the words of 1987 hit by Marrs, “Pump up the volume”? This is all achievable through road trains in certain EU countries, high volume trailers or the creative use of swap bodies.

Road trains

A road train, land train or long combination vehicle is a truck and trailer combination that is used in rural and remote areas of Australia, Europe, and the USA to carry freight over long distances. The road train includes a tractor unit and typically tows two or more trailers. [source: Wikipedia]

Road trains are part of the landscape of the Outback in Australia. Australia allows the world’s longest road trains of up to 53.5m, pulling three or more trailers, to operate on dedicated, strictly regulated roads to supply provisions to remote towns and villages in Australia’s vast and sparsely populated hinterland. [source: Lindholmen report] Maxine Taylor, one of the few women road train drivers, describes her life vividly, driving 800 km daily, pulling four trailers, in temperatures of 48 degrees centigrade in a report for Volvo. Road trains take longer than normal trucks to maneuver and come to a halt. They are so imposing that car hire companies even advise their customers on what to do if they encounter a road train in the Outback. [source: Thrifty]


Back in Europe

Europe is more densely populated than rural Australia or the USA so truck and trailer combinations of up to 25.25m long are permitted only in Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and on some roads in Norway. Elsewhere the limit is 18.75m and, in Norway, 19.5m [source: Wikipedia]


Cost savings

Extending the length of a truck and trailer combination can have a significant impact on savings as a 2011 study by the University of Huddersfield, UK shows. It reported that “the fuel consumption and carbon emissions per unit of load decrease by between 11% and 19% (on a per pallet kilometre basis) [when moving from a standard-length UK articulated lorry, 16.5m long with a maximum gross weight of 44 tonnes to a “heavy capacity vehicle” 25.25m long with the same gross maximum weight]. Transport costs are found to decrease by approximately 19% on a per pallet kilometre basis.”



This type of cost-benefit analysis is prompting more research across Europe. In Finland, the city of Tampere is experimenting with a tractor truck powered by a 2,000 horsepower hydrogen engine pulling a semi-trailer and two trailers, a total length of 55 meters and a maximum laden weight of 120 tonnes. [source: Kuljetnus 04.01.2017]

In Sweden, the Forum for Innovation for Transport initiated a project in 2013 to prepare a designated road network by 2030 to accommodate road trains 32m long, equipped to carry up to 90 tonnes. This will involve strengthening roads, ramps and bridges to carry the increased loads and building specially adapted drop-off warehouses to enable smaller vehicles to carry out last mile deliveries. The issues for adoption of road trains are similar to those for platooning and autonomous trucks.



Reception to road trains is lukewarm in more densely populated EU countries such as the UK. In 2010, the EU passed a directive that allowed trucks of up to 25.25m long on the roads in Europe. In 2009, the former UK transport secretary Ruth Kelly rejected these trucks, concluding that they were unsuitable for British roads. At the time, the UK’s Road Haulage Association said “They are part of the future. In the meantime, longer trailers would make a big difference.” [source: Guardian] Meanwhile, the UK Government has been running a test scheme, due for completion in 2022, on articulated lorries up to two meters longer than the existing ones. [source: FTA]


Increased future capacity for EU trailer fleets?

In February 2018, Inge Vierth of Nordic Roads and Transport Research said “The maximum weight in Sweden is 64 tonnes, and in Finland, it totals 76 tonnes, which can be compared with the rest of the EU, where lorries can weigh a maximum of 40 tonnes… There are now signs indicating that the 40 tonne limit in the rest of the EU countries will be raised.” [source: Nordicroads] So if and when this happens, this will present fleet operators from other European countries with additional opportunities to carry greater freight volumes.


Alternative solutions

There are several alternative solutions to carrying more volume including the deployment of high volume trailers and swap bodies, which TIP Trailer Services can offer on a rental or leased basis.


High volume trailers

The double-deck trailer is a classic type of high volume trailer enabling one driver to carry greater loads using an existing tractor unit. There are two types of double-deck trailers:

  • Fixed deck trailers have the highest load capacity, in weight and volume. However, they are only compatible with delivering to stores and warehouses that have external lifts. There is a variant on the fixed deck trailer, one with a tail lift. The tail lift has limited capacity and hence unloading is slow. This variant is best suited to multi-drop routes.


  • Moving deck trailers are very flexible with an upper deck which can be hydraulically lifted up or lowered during loading and delivery. This is a heavier solution than the fixed deck trailer because of the need to include the hydraulic lifting mechanisms. The hydraulics make the powered deck more expensive than the fixed deck. The moving deck trailer is ideal for products which do not double stack and, when loaded on a pallet, do not weigh more than 650 kg in total.


Swap bodies

Swap bodies are one of the standard freight containers for road and rail transport and, with some creative planning, ideal for transporting increased volumes of freight.

1:2 truck trailer ratios

Running fleets on a 1:1 truck trailer ratio is standard practice at many transport companies. However, it is also worth considering a 1:2 truck trailer ratio, using what is sometimes referred to as a “drop-and-hook distribution” strategy. In this case, drivers drop off one swap body at a delivery dock and then drive away with another loaded swap body trailer. TIP has collaborated with some of its clients to implement this model with great success. Based on this experience, TIP has devised precise calculations which enable fleet managers to deploy their current driver pool with a greater number of trailers.


Trailer warehousing

This solution is a variation of the 1:2 truck trailer ratio approach. With trailer warehousing, you spread your own or rented swap bodies between different warehouse locations so that your drivers can drop off a swap body for unloading at a delivery point and then drive away either with another swap body or to the nearest trailer warehouse on their route to collect a new trailer, either loaded or empty. With both high-volume trailers and swap bodies, drivers can maximize their driving time by not waiting around for unloading.

 For more information on how TIP Trailer Services can help your fleet pump up the volume, please contact us using this form.

Shared warehousing: more flexibility and lower costs

Shared warehousing: more flexibility and lower costs

Through the Sharing Economy, marked in people’s minds by the “Airbnb-isation” of many business models, companies and consumers often prefer to pay for temporary access to goods and services rather than take on the ownership of assets and their long-term costs. The Sharing Economy is alive and well in the world of trailers and logistics through shared warehousing, real-time freight brokerage and trailer pooling.

Shared assets, greater flexibility and profitability

The rise in e-commerce in Europe has created some wonderful opportunities for trailer fleet operators that offer flexible, freight carrying capacity and delivery to meet fluctuating demand. Enjoying the benefit of shared warehousing or trailer pooling can make a significant difference to flexibility and profitability.

Shared warehousing

“Shared warehousing” is starting to attract industry interest.  For example, among the key insights and growth opportunities that Frost & Sullivan identified in its February 2018 research report on the UK’s transportation and logistics market were “Shared warehouses with vertical structures [which] will begin to emerge due to a shortage of warehouse space.”

Dedicated vs Shared Warehousing

With a dedicated warehouse, your company pays all the fixed costs of running a warehouse, regardless of whether you are using its space to full capacity or not. With a shared warehouse, the ongoing operating and maintenance costs are spread across the different companies using the warehouse and their activity levels. Many of the costs become variable. The warehouse owners will manage the storage space rental and often be able to provide fulfilment services. Using a shared warehouse enables you to enjoy a flexible warehousing and fulfilment solution, whose costs rise and fall with the fluctuations in demand for your business. [source: ODWLogistics]

Shared warehousing in action

Koninklijke Vezet, a fruit and vegetable processing company in the Netherlands has been doing shared warehousing for its largest client, major supermarket chain, Albert Heijn for over ten years. It manages its stocks in Albert Heijn’s distribution centers to which it delivers five times a day, based on shared forecasts. Anouk Wissink, director Supply Chain & New Business at Vezet believes that sharing data with her client has been the key to their successful use of shared warehousing.  [source: LogistiekProfs]

Airbnb-isation of shared warehousing

Digital sharing platforms, accessed on a huge scale, are transforming the logistics industry value chain. For example, a US company called Flexe finds spare warehouse space for e-commerce merchants all over the US and is fast becoming the Airbnb of warehousing. In five years, Flexe has built a marketplace of spare storage space in 550 warehouses representing close to 2.3 million square metres without purchasing any assets. [source: Bloomberg]

The concept of “urban discreet warehousing” is also taking off in the USA. It enables people or companies, via smartphones or the web to share unused personal storage space in urban homes, offices, garages and vacant rental properties in exchange for a fee for usage, per item or membership. Two US start-ups MakeSpace and Omni are pioneers in this field. [source: DHL Sharing Economy report]

Sharing economy and freight exchange platforms

Unused trailer capacity is a major industry issue. The UK’s Freight Transport Association analyses the level of empty loads each year as part of its Logistics Report. Empty loads have constituted approximately 30% of all trailer journeys since 2011 (Source: Fleetpoint.org).  These empty loads are bad for business profitability and the environment. One solution is to join some of the many online freight exchange platforms. The BrummiFreund website lists 171 European freight exchange platforms. They exist to match companies wanting to send goods to specific destinations with road freight transporters travelling in the same direction with enough spare capacity to carry those goods.

Sharing economy and trailer pooling

The ability to increase or reduce trailer fleet numbers quickly through trailer rental enables you to participate in new revenue opportunities by “pooling”. Pooling is a process whereby shipments that would normally be transported to the same place by several incomplete trailer oads with different transport companies are consolidated into full trailer loads to take to the final destination. Pooling requires collaboration among retailers, manufacturers, warehouses, distribution centres and/or your competitors. It makes the consignment as cost-effective as possible at both consignment origin and final distribution points.

Flexibility through trailer rental

Trailer rental is a powerful and flexible solution. Buying your own trailers is a significant investment, with new trailers often costing upwards of €30,000.  Trailer rental gives you access to the best trailers and latest trailer technology without the high investment costs and overheads of ownership.

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 type of goods transported including curtainsiders/tilts, walking floors, flats, reefers, and tankers, and many other types of trailers as well as trucks. To find out how TIP can help you with trailers within the shared economy, please contact us using this form.

TIP 50 years; a logistic history of innovation and change. Part 2

TIP 50 years; a logistic history of innovation and change. Part 2

From its founding 50 years ago, TIP has always been an early adopter of innovation. TIP constantly researches and pioneers the use of new technologies to ensure that its customers benefit from the very latest developments.

TIP: a history of innovation

We have been at the forefront of innovation in many areas including:

  • Intermodal freight transport, where we participated in industry initiatives to further develop standard-sized containers for intermodal freight transport.
  • Telematics and digitization where TIP both devised and now markets the leading trailer telematics solution, Trailermatics.
  • Trailer tyres. TIP delivers a Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) which enables fleet managers and drivers to monitor tyre pressures remotely and in real -time through telematics. A rim-fitted sensor measures the tyre pressure, temperature, and position. In addition, TIP is a member of the European Union-sponsored LORRY project, launched in 2013 to create a low rolling resistance tyre combined with telematics.
  • Electronic Brake Performance Monitoring Systems (EBPMS) where our expertise is highly sought after. For example, in 2014, the UK government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) asked TIP to contribute to a working group to create a UK specification for EBPMS.
  • Preventative and predictive maintenance; Price-Per-Kilometre (PPK) contracts and Transportation – Capability Assessment Net (T-Can) tools where we have delivered solutions which incorporate the use of cutting-edge technology to give our customers industry-leading services.
  • Apps for inspection trailers and trucks; In 2014 a smartphone app for trailer fleet operators to create inspection reports online with photo, search, share, and compare features was launched by TIP.


Future technologies

TIP’s Research & Development teams are researching the innovations and new technology which are dominating the headlines today and will have a significant impact on our industry going forward.

These innovations include:

  • Artificial intelligence that controls the electronics and engines of current and semi-/autonomous trucks.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) that uses technology to connect different smart devices to each other to drive interesting applications. For example, sensors on trailers can send a signal to the fleet manager or driver on their smartphones to tell them that there has been a breach of security on a container.
  • Hybrid and electric motors are increasingly likely to become adapted powertrains for trucks in the medium term.
  • Autonomous trucks. Truck manufacturers are developing “autonomous” self-driving trucks without drivers. There are also semi-autonomous trucks which include a driver whose role is to manage the system and retake control in an emergency or to drive the freight to its delivery destination, once the truck has split from the platoon.
  • Truck platooning is a convoy of typically two to three semi-autonomous trucks, wirelessly-connected and all closely following one another. Acceleration, braking, and steering across all trucks in the platoon is controlled by the lead vehicle.
  • The Blockchain is a digital ledger that registers crypto-currency transactions. In August 2017, for example, Freightwaves reported that container shipping companies were starting to take a “blockchain-based approach” using a digital currency called “Ethereum”  to pay for transactions.
  • Trailer pooling and sharing is a concept in which, for example, a company rents a trailer from warehouse A and leaves it to be unloaded at delivery point B, then exchanges this one for a different trailer type for another delivery. Trailer sharing is also something to consider. By sharing trailers with other fleets, fleets can benefit from the efficiencies of trailer pooling. The more assets they have at different locations, the more flexible the operations will be for all partners.

TIP: an early adopter of innovation

TIP takes a proactive approach to participating in the transport industry’s next waves of innovation and is committed to being an early adopter of innovation.

Going electric

A strong illustration of this “early-adopter” mindset is TIP Trailer Services France’s approach to electric Commercial Light Vehicles (eCLVs). It has championed the cause of electric vehicles since early 2017 and now offers its fleet customers the opportunity of renting or leasing eLCVs.

TIP: ready for the next 50 years and beyond

Our industry has experienced both historical highs after the fall of the Berlin Wall and challenging downturns. Regardless of the prevailing economic circumstances, TIP’s dedication to service and innovation has remained unyielding. In good and bad times, we have always been here for our customers. They have rewarded us by trusting us with the largest trailer fleet on the road, comprising some 64,000 vehicles across 80 locations and 17 countries.

At TIP, we are already looking forward to supporting our customers to the highest standards for the next 50 years and beyond, through change and innovation! For more information on how you can enjoy the latest innovations in trailer services, please contact your local TIP Trailer Services manager using this form.

Growth in Benelux road freight transport

Growth in Benelux road freight transport

The Benelux has been the main hub for international freight transport from and to the European Union for many years. Judging by positive economic forecasts, the Benelux will remain on the radar screens of fleet managers as an interesting area for new business opportunities. Those fleet managers who have access to flexible trailer solutions will enjoy a clear advantage over their competitors.

Benelux as transport hub

The seaports and airports in the Benelux countries within the EU are among the reasons why the Benelux is such a major transport hub. The Benelux seaports of Rotterdam (no. 1), Antwerp (no. 2) and Amsterdam (no. 4) are all in the top 5 seaports in the EU. The Benelux airports of Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Liège, and Brussels occupy the numbers 2, 7, 8 and 10 in the rankings of the top 10 airports for freight in the EU. The Benelux is responsible for over 75% of inland waterway transport. Over 2.4 billion tonnes of goods are transported in, from and to the Benelux, via its seaports, waterways, rail network, and airports. [source: Benelux Union]

Spotlight on the Netherlands

Research agency Panteia’s KTV short-term forecast predicts that road freight transport in the Netherlands will increase by 3.8% in 2018, generating an additional 27.8 million tonnes of freight. This higher forecast is due to favourable world economic growth, Dutch government spending policy and the Dutch per kilometre haulage tax remaining unchanged. Panteia expects an increase in the transport of building materials, chemicals, and containers. However, this expansion will bring its own challenges, chiefly recruiting more drivers to meet demand. [source: Aftersalestruck]

Economic indicators – Benelux

Economic growth is another indicator of the health of the road transport market. According to EU forecasts, the Dutch economy will grow by 2.9%, the Belgian economy by 1.8% and Luxembourg is set to enjoy an impressive 3.9% expansion, whilst the EU overall will grow by  2.3% [source: EU]

Flexible trailer solutions – the key to success

Demand fluctuation is one of the most important factors in fleet management and profitability. Consequently, the ability of fleet managers to increase or decrease their numbers of trailers rapidly, easily and cost-effectively generates a powerful business advantage.

Add trailers for spikes in demand

By renting and leasing at competitive rates from a leading trailer services company such as TIP, fleet managers can add trailers to their fleets to handle spikes in demand then simply return them during troughs in demand at short notice and without having to bear the fixed costs of ownership.

Buy and sell

Renting and leasing through TIP gives fleet managers the opportunity to easily upgrade their trailers without wasting time selling used asset and worrying about resale values.  TIP can buy specific trailer assets for your needs and, as the owner of a 50,000 unit+ fleet, can pass on the economies of scales it enjoys. Celebrating its 50th year in business with a network of industry contacts and expertise to match, TIP is also well placed to sell your used trailers and trucks on your behalf.

Outsource your trailer maintenance

Why not outsource the maintenance, servicing and repairs of your trailer fleet to a leasor or rental company such as TIP? This takes away the “headache” of recruiting, training and retaining specialised trailer mechanics and maintaining a servicing bay with the latest technology and a warehouse full of spare parts.

Trailers for every occasion

TIP offers all types of trailers on a rental or leasing basis including, flatbeds, curtainsiders, box trailers, tankers and reefers to fill short-term gaps in your fleet.  Need to fulfill a last-minute customer delivery request? TIP has the rental solution you need. For more information on how you can benefit from TIP’s flexible trailer solutions, please contact TIP using this form.