Connected trucks and trailers through telematics – part 2

Connected trucks and trailers through telematics – part 2

There continue to be fascinating innovations in telematics. The “connected trailer” is no longer unusual as more trailer manufacturers fit telematics solutions to their trailers.

Innovations including video

Several recent innovations are for in-cab video cameras linked to the telematics systems. Drivers falling asleep at the wheel is a major issue.  For example, UK-based vehicle CCTV developer SmartWitness has created a dashboard-based system that utilises facial recognition software to identify when a driver’s eyes have turned away from the road for more than three seconds.  When this happens, the system emits an audible alert to the driver and an alert to the fleet manager via the fleet management system. The system can also pick up on when the driver is using his or her mobile phone or is distracted in other ways from the road. The company also supplies a solution capable of monitoring undesirable driving behaviour such as tailgating or last second braking.  This data can then be used constructively to train drivers to improve their safe driving skills. (source: HGVUK)


Applicable across the EU from June 2019, all new commercial vehicles will be obliged to be equipped with a new 4thgeneration smart tachograph. Among the numerous functions of the new tachographs will be the ability of police officers on the side of the road to remotely access tachograph data as trucks drive past, thereby reducing the number of roadside inspections. The smart tachograph will use GPS to automatically register the driver’s location in all countries and enable the fleet manager to track their drivers’ locations in real-time. Tachograph data on driver’s working hours can be integrated into any telematics systems which will reduce the administration time dedicated to recording and managing drivers’ hours.   (source: UKHaulier)

Transatlantic truck tracking

Keeping track of road freight moving across multiple geographies is a headache for international shippers including multinational retailers. It is difficult for them to gain visibility of their global transport capacity. A major issue is that they need to use different telematics systems for road transport companies in each geography. A solution may now be at hand. Two data sharing services, one in the US, project 44 and another in Europe, GateHouse have partnered to give their customers the opportunity to track 175,000 multimodal carriers of which approximately half are in the USA and half in Europe by giving them one single access point to the carriers’ telematics systems. (source: JOC)

Trailers and telematics

In addition to lowering their cost of trailer ownership and increasing their efficiency, connected trailers through telematics can benefit fleets in several ways:

  • Prevention of cargo theft– Information fed from sensors on the trailer via telematics to the fleet manager can provide real-time tracking of the trailer’s location and, thanks to geo-fencing technology, alerts when the trailer doors are opened or closed in an unexpected location. This enables fleet managers to respond quickly through remote access to any attempts at theft and, if necessary, bring in law enforcement officers.
  • Trailer maintenance– A connected trailer can feed information back to the fleet manager on the condition of specific mechanical components on the trailer including tyres, brakes, suspension and prompt him or her to bring the trailer back to a workshop for preventative maintenance before costly unexpected roadside breakdown occurs. This maximises trailer uptime and reduces cost of ownership.
  • Food and pharmaceuticals safe transport– Telematics plays a critical role in cold chain management. It enables the fleet manager to remotely control factors in the reefer trailer such as temperatures, humidity, the status of the doors and the condition of the items being transported to ensure the safe and regulation-compliant delivery of food and pharmaceuticals. (source:FleetOwner)
  • Administration–Telematics generate reports on trailers to help fleet managers maximise fleet utilisation, reduce detention time and empty miles. This data decreases fleet manager administration time and increases efficiency.

Trailer manufacturers and telematics

A few examples:

  • Krone has embraced telematics for the connected trailer. It offers various telematics solutions. One monitors the physical and mechanical conditions of the trailer. A space detection system views and helps manage the cargo capacity in the trailer. Another telematics solution connects the trailer to freight exchanges. (source:HGVUK)

At Solutrans 2017, several trailer manufacturers highlighted their telematics credentials:

  • Lamberet, a French reefer trailer specialist, launched a telematics pack Smart & Safe which it developed with partner Novacom for clients purchasing its Frigomatics semi-trailer reefer range. It permits the fleet manager and driver to control remotely trailer, reefer and mechanical functions in real-time using a terminal-, smartphone- or tablet-based application.
  • Schmitz Cargobull presented a telematics solution called TrailerConnect which gives similar functionality to Lamberet’s.
  • Chereau, another French reefer trailer manufacturer, has taken a different approach. It focuses on facilitating trailer connectivity. Chereau has decided not to build a proprietary telematic solution. It prefers to ensure the easy integration of telematics from different telematics providers onto its trailers. It demonstrated this ability at Solutrans 2017 using Trakopolis Chereau is also working with the major European truck manufacturers to integrate their telematics into its semi-trailers. (source: TransportInfo)

TIP trailer rental and telematics

TIP supplies trailers on a rental and lease basis in many forms as well as light commercial vehicles and trucks.  TIP Trailer Services has built up considerable expertise in supplying and fitting telematic solutions from all major telematics providers onto trailers and trucks. For further information on flexible trailer rental with TIP Trailer Services and the telematics solutions it can provide, please contact TIP using this form.


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Are you “Milking” this new business with flexible trailer rental?   

Are you “Milking” this new business with flexible trailer rental?                         

Most markets grow in unexpected ways, which can lead to new business opportunities for those who can read then exploit new trends.  The milk market is growing in unanticipated directions today, with the category “milk,” much to the dismay of dairy farmers, now also applied to plant-based dairy alternatives like soya or almond milk, which are rapidly gaining in popularity. Is your trailer fleet ready to “milk” this new opportunity? Trailer rental can help you by providing a flexible way to manage your fleet.

More milk

Milk is the top agricultural commodity globally in value terms. (source: Irish Farmers Journal) So important that the United Nations celebrated it with a World Milk Day on 01 June.  Today’s milk market is undergoing rapid change due to the fast-growing alternative milk segment.

In a Rabobank report entitled “Dare not to dairy – How the industry can respond to dairy-free,” Tom Bailey, RaboResearch Senior Analyst-Dairy says “Global demand for dairy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent for years to come, with non-fluid categories [sic: cheese, butter, etc] offsetting weak fluid milk sales.” However, this does not apply to retail sales of fluid milk in western Europe (a market worth US$ 18.6bn) and the US (US$ 12.5bn). They have fallen at an annual rate of 5 percent and 3 percent respectively in the last five years to 2017, according to Euromonitor.

Dare not to dairy

The same report notes that global sales for dairy alternatives have grown at a rate of 8 percent annually over the last ten years. In 2017, dairy-free milk sales of US$ 15.6 billion represented 12 percent of total fluid and alternative milk sales globally, according to Euromonitor. Underlying this trend are changing consumer perceptions of health, lifestyle choices, curiosity, and perceived sustainability. Millennials and Generation Z are driving this surge in demand. Rabobank comments that investment returns in dairy alternatives have been greater than in traditional dairy.

Flexible trailer capacity for new opportunities

The milk market is an interesting example of a growing and diversifying industry. It offers exciting opportunities for those road freight companies that can respond quickly to changes in demand because they have flexible cargo capacity.

Convert leads with confidence

If you know that you have easy potential access to a significant number of trailers through rental, you can take decisions on new business leads more quickly and with greater confidence.  Trailer rental gives you the power to expand or contract your business to suit market conditions without having the overheads of investing in, owning and maintaining trailers sitting for long periods in the yard when not in use. Another advantage of trailer rental is that you can bring on-stream different types of trailers for different applications to be it a tanker to transport milk or a double-decker to carry cars.

Trailer rental, well-established

Trailer rental is a well-established and popular practice among fleet operators. The process for renting a trailer is relatively simple and clear compared to raising capital to buy trailers outright. Purchasing new trailers can cost anything from €30,000 onwards.  Trailer purchases often require additional funding. This can exert pressure on your company’s balance sheet.

Trailer flexibility is king

Trailer flexibility is king with TIP trailer rental. TIP can provide its customers with preferential rental terms within lease contracts to increase or decrease the number of rented trailers as demand fluctuates, thus giving them greater peace of mind and a source of competitive advantage.

Let TIP maintain and repair your trailer

TIP includes a maintenance and repair management service in the trailer rental contract. During the maintenance and repair of your rental trailers, you can use our replacement trailers to ensure that interruptions to your business are kept to a minimum.

Roadside assistance is also part of the TIP trailer rental package. We can come to your rescue whether your trailer is on the way to Barcelona, Brussels, Budapest or any other European destination. Our Europe-wide breakdown recovery service operates 24/7 365 days per year.

A trailer for every task

TIP rents out trailers for every task including curtainsider/tilt, moving floor, flat, reefer, tanker, tipping and many other types of trailers as well as trucks.

Are you “milking” new business with flexible trailer solutions?

To find out how you can milk new business opportunities with TIP Trailer Services flexible trailer rental solutions, please contact us using this form.

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Mergers and acquisitions in European trucking

Mergers and acquisitions in European trucking

According to a survey published in November 2017 by Ti, a UK-based research consultancy, around 60% of respondents expect ‘significant’ levels of mergers and acquisition (“M&A”) activity in European road freight over the next five years. The same consultancy predicts that the European market which grew by 2.4 percent in real terms in 2016, will continue to do so but at a real compound rate of 3 percent through to 2020. This continuing market growth makes it a good time to acquire other fleets and capitalise on increased business opportunities. (source: JOC) Is your road transport company ready for M&A?

An active European M&A market

The forecasts are starting to come true. In November, leading ferry operator and logistics company DFDS announced that it is to acquire the Dutch company Alphatrans Group BV, a specialist in transporting oversize and heavy cargoes. (source: WorldCargo News) In addition, major US player XPO Logistics, having already bought France’s Norbert Dentressangle for $3.5 billion in 2015, is reported to be on the lookout for European acquisition targets. The same goes for DSV, an ambitious Danish trucking, and freight forwarding company, which is thought to be allocating up to $2 billion for the right deal. (source: JOC)

Synergies for road transport company M&A

In the case of a road transport company, the management needs to ask themselves strategic questions about their target and the possible synergies of combining both companies including:

  • To what extent the cargo flows of both companies match and how can we take advantage going forward?
  • How can we ensure fleet standardisation?
  • How can we use this transaction to increase the quality of the whole fleet?
  • How will the transaction help us reduce the total cost of ownership of our fleet?
  • How will we adjust our operations to ensure optimal use of the new economies of scale brought by the deal?

Keys to M&A success                             

If your company is considering an acquisition or merger, what are the keys to M&A success? A well-executed post-M&A integration strategy is vital for value creation. Inspired by advice from large consulting firms such as Bain and individual M&A advisers such as Toby Tester, here are the main success factors:

  1. Be clear about the objectives of your deal in strategic, financial and operational terms and how the transaction will add value to your business.
  2. Select a core group of internal leaders to build a comprehensive integration plan with defined measurements of success.
  3. Address the people and management issues quickly. Move quickly to select the top people from both organisations to execute the new vision for the combined company. This maximises your chances of retaining the best employees and customers and getting on with the integration.
  4. Progress with one culture only. Bain recommends that companies select one corporate culture, its way of doing things, usually the acquirers. Retaining two cultures causes friction, slows down the integration and destroys value.
  5. Communicate clearly, regularly and honestly. Obtain the buy-in for the transaction from people in both organisations as many will be nervous about their roles in the new set-up.
  6. Don’t forget the day job! The process of integration can be a distraction. The two companies should not forget the day-to-day running of their core businesses whilst the integration takes place.

TIP and M&A

TIP Trailer Services can support road transport companies going through the M&A process in several practical ways:

Outsourcing trailer maintenance to one company

One way of increasing the benefits of your M&A transactions is to outsource preventative trailer maintenance. Outsourcing is more cost-effective than keeping it in-house. You do not have to carry the fixed overheads of technicians or the latest diagnostic and repair equipment. This flexibility includes the 24/7 availability of maintenance and repair support through a pan-European network of workshops. Trailer downtime is minimised.

A well-designed and established outsourced trailer maintenance partnership with a market leader such as TIP will free up more time for your fleet manager(s) to dedicate to more business-critical activities like customer service or business development.

Selling used trailer assets

If you discover that your fleet includes too many or the wrong sort of trailers after an M&A transaction, we can sell them for you. Our excellent reputation as experts in trailers, gained over 50 years in the business, coupled with our extensive European network enables us to sell over 7,000 used trailer assets per year. We sell a whole range of used trailers including curtainsiders, vans, flatbeds, and reefers as well as trucks.

Trailer telematics and data systems

One way of boosting the business performance of your trailer fleet post-M&A is through trailer telematics. Trailer telematics gives fleet managers real-time access to a wide range of data about their fleets, enabling them to take business-critical decisions more easily. Trailer telematics covers many areas including driver and trailer scheduling, finding the most effective delivery routes, asset tracking, monitoring wear and tear on mechanical components and remote control of functions such as reefer temperatures or tyre pressures.

TIP can install trailer telematics, integrate it with your existing fleet management software and help you manage it.

TIP is also expert in fleet management. Managers can use our web-browser based software to monitor and control a wide range of fleet management operations. These include a fleet overview, service related documentation, compliance data, roadside assistance reports, accounting documents, trailer reservations and an interface with telematics. Where appropriate, these functions are linked to key performance indicators. TIP can help install and manage this fleet management software. In a post M&A environment, TIP can also assist you with the merging and integration of different fleet management data systems.

 To find out how TIP Trailer Services can help you in an M&A transaction, please contact us using this form.