For the past ten years the shipping industry has been moving steadily towards more regional transport. There are a range of reasons why this change is happening, it benefits drivers and also logistics companies. The main benefits of regional logistics are that drivers can go home each night, and more recently, that trucks can then be charged overnight as well. This way both trucks and drivers are refreshed and ready for the next day on the road.
How Would this Impact Drivers?
For drivers it’s already a long day, often 10 to 11 hour shifts and they want to get home to their beds and their families. There has been mounting pressure from drivers for better working conditions and the ability to go home at night. Keeping their routes regional allows them to do that. This enables better staff retention, as drivers are still able to maintain a home life and see their loved ones regularly. Less drivers then feel the need to leave for family reasons. And naturally, everyone sleeps better in their own bed too. Which means they are less tired the next day when they continue their delivery routes.
How Would this Impact Logistics Companies?
For truck fleets and truck rental companies, keeping it solely regional will mean that trucks are able to be brought back each night to the depot. In the midst of the growing shift to electric trucks this is essential. Drivers would then leave the trucks in the depot plugged into electric charging stations overnight. This will be plenty of time to recharge for the next day and be road ready by the morning, for both the trucks and their drivers.
Large trucks transporting goods make up a significant portion of any country’s carbon emissions. With new rules and targets in place for lowering emissions logistics companies cannot afford to overlook truck emissions. There is also public demand for companies to be more ‘green’ and environmentally friendly. By offering low to zero emissions transportation of their goods, customers are more incentivized to purchase items from them.
Switching to electric trucks not only appeases customers’ expectations and government regulations, but it can also save companies money and time. The change does not generally cause much disruption to usual day to day operations and can be done fairly quickly. There are plenty of companies that sell software and charging stations specifically for truck yards. There’s even enough now that there is some competition to drive prices down a bit as well.
Power companies are prepared for the extra power usage too. It’s just a matter of having a conversation with them to work out how best to manage charging, and which hours are best to charge, to avoid demand charges. It shouldn’t be too difficult to come to a reasonable agreement, there are likely even ‘plans’ specifically designed for commercial recharging stations already available.
Which Regional Haul Routes Work Best with Electric Trucks?
There are a wide range of haulage types which can be completed regionally. We have identified the types most suited to a transition to fully electric trucks:
- Central City Routes: Delivering a large number of drops per day in a smaller area.
- Intercity: Routes that deliver just once or twice a day to a nearby city and back within the same day.
- Shuttles: Providing multiple short trips daily, totaling less than 250kms per day.
- Dedicated Routes: Of around 250 – 650kms each day.
- Dedicated ½ Day Outs: Travelling there and back each day, up to 800km round trips.
- Diminishing Load: Consisting of only drop offs.
It is possible for other longer haul trucks to benefit from running electric as well. They would just need to be part of a large company that has multiple charging depots across the country. However, you would also need to consider the fact that there will be less drivers willing to complete such routes. This is due to being overnight, or longer away from home.
It is better for both drivers and companies to manage deliveries within their own regions. And have others from neighboring regions pick things up daily in their own dedicated routes, to then distribute within their own regional areas.
Overall, the entire transport industry is moving towards more eco-friendly vehicle models regardless of individual company choices. It pays to get ahead, stay up with the play and start moving towards fully electric trucks from now, in order to stay ahead in the industry. It is both customer and government driven. On top of that, management within each company often wants to maintain a clean green image, and already has goals towards that.