Road Freight Transport Cost: Differences Between European Countries

Road Freight Transport Cost: Differences Between European Countries

Panagiotis Kotsios (International Hellenic University, Greece) and Dimitrios Folinas (International Hellenic University, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8709-6.ch005
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The goal of this research was to measure the cost of road freight transport in the 20 European countries with the highest recorded quantity of tonne-kilometres and assess their competitiveness. Cost competitiveness was measured by four main cost categories: fuels, drivers' wages, tyres and tolls, and the results show large cost variances between countries. The countries with the lowest road freight transport cost were Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania, and those with the highest costs were Norway, Austria, and the UK. The largest differences in costs were met in tolls and other road taxes, followed by drivers' wages, fuels, and finally, tyres.
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Literature Review

Road Transport History

Road transport has developed alongside the development and evolution of humans. The first and most important invention of man related to the development of road transport was the discovery of the wheel 3,500 years ago in Mesopotamia (Britannica, 2018). By using the wheel in combination with the power of domesticated animals (horses, oxen, mules etc.), man was able to carry large quantities of goods across large distances. In order to facilitate the transportation of wagons, he started building roads and rails (Freitag, 1979). The requirements for the movement and distribution of goods by large-scale road transport increased drastically during war periods. Great military leaders of history, such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Napoleon, relied on the design and implementation of road transport of goods and materials for maintaining their war campaigns. Other important periods for the development of road transport were the British and American industrial revolutions, which supported the expansion or construction of new trade routes, as well as the first and second world wars, which greatly increased the need for logistics in order to meet the needs of combat forces (Erb & James, 2017). One of the most important reasons for the development of transport was also the discovery of the steam engine (Dell, Moseley & Rand, 2014).

In the 20th century, the development of road freight transport was favored further. This growing supremacy stemmed from the growth of cities and the multiplication of private businesses. Especially since the 1970s, significant investments were made in the transport sector. These investments were related to the construction of motorways, better vehicle technology, and computer programs and databases to gather useful information to support road transport services (Banister & Berechman, 1999). Completing the reasons for the development of road transport in the modern world, one should also mention globalization. The term refers to the process of interaction and integration between people, companies and governments worldwide and has grown due to advances in transportation and communication technology. Companies try to benefit from globalization in order to find the best markets for their products and services while securing resources at the lowest cost. The enormous benefits that a company can gain through globalization have played an important role in the development of logistics and road transport in particular (Branch, 2009; Harrison & Hoek, 2012). As for the rest of the world, the road freight transport sector is crucial for Europe.

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