By Luciana Gouveia, Transport Exchange Group, Head of Marketing

With a population of over 17 million people and a population density of 488 people per square kilometre, the Netherlands is one of the most crowded nations on earth. 

Imagine therefore what it must be like to run a freight business in a land where there are 543 vehicles per thousand habitants. Cities are busy. Very busy. Last year, according to INRIX, drivers in The Hague – the Netherlands’ political heart – lost 95 hours in congestion, while motorists in Amsterdam, the country’s capital, wasted 69 hours in traffic jams.

But 65% of CX Euro members – Transport Exchange Group’s European arm – who also subscribe to EuropeTrack telematics services have found a solution. And it does not cost the earth. It is called integrated telematics. In a nutshell, it combines all the benefits of a freight exchange platform with the real-time visibility that can only be achieved by using a telematics package.

In the Netherlands, many members who have integrated the two services have not only won more loads, but according to Timo Klinge, the Operations Director of EuropeTrack “integrated telematics has increased operational efficiency by a whopping 35%”.

He explained: “Most CX Euro members recognise the advantages of using telematics. It gives them increased visibility allowing members to see their vehicles wherever they are. But pairing EuropeTrack’s telematics technology with CX Euro’s smart load matching platform has improved efficiencies too.

“Why? Well, the real-time visibility that integrated telematics offers members takes the guesswork out of trading on the Exchange. It means that members posting loads on CX Euro can receive real-time load notifications based on the actual position of their van or truck, and not the presumed location of the vehicle.

“And member organisations looking for work can use integrated telematics to advertise the status and availability of their vehicles in real time. In both scenarios, we have found that integrated members are much more efficient than those who have not yet harmonised both technologies.”

073 Koeriers: blazing a trail

One member organisation enjoying the benefits of integration is 073 Koeriers. A large family-owned freight provider, located in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) in southern Holland, 073 Koeriers joined CX Euro a year ago. With a finger in several pies including running a road transport service for air and sea freight, it uses CX Euro predominately to help move the 80 orders it receives each day.

Operational Director Davon Heesbeen, who oversees a mixed fleet of 20 vehicles ranging from small vans to articulated lorries, said: “Geographically, Den Bosch, the city we operate from, is one of the most accessible in Holland. That gives us an advantage, but not enough to stay ahead of our competitors.

“The Exchange’s virtual fleet has enabled us to scale up our business. Now we can not only serve Holland’s largest cities, but also small towns and villages in the Dutch hinterlands. Previously, we did not have the resources to do so.”

But why choose to subscribe to integrated telematics?

“The Dutch logistics sector is highly competitive. However, in terms of efficiency, integrated telematics will give us an edge over our rivals. It will let us know the status and availability of other vehicles on the Exchange, and when we have the system fully up and running, we will be able to track the location of vehicles on behalf of our customers and send them automatic alerts in real-time too.”

Integrated telematics: why it is here to stay

However, Timo Klinge thinks that as integrated telematics becomes more established in the Netherlands and across the rest of Europe, “several more powerful use cases will emerge”.

“Operators based in Benelux countries, which are small, are much more likely to serve the larger markets too like Germany, France, Italy, UK, Spain and the Nordics. This means that their customers are trusting them to deliver loads on their behalf to destinations thousands of miles away which can cross several borders in the process.

“That potentially presents a big security risk. Integrated telematics largely eliminates that risk by letting their customer see the real-time location of the load at all times. We think that it could even lead to customers paying more to carriers.”

073 Koeriers’ Davon Heesbeen agrees that a platform which provides real-time tracking will give logistics providers a clear advantage, but he does not think that his customers will necessarily pay for the privilege of extra visibility, even with the enhanced security that it brings.

Mr Heesbeen added: “I think in a sector with such tight margins where carriers are often expected to absorb costs, it is probably something that our customers will come to expect, so I do not think that we will necessarily be able to charge more for each load.

“But, at the same time, it is conceivable that the added visibility may win us more loads. If nothing else – it will certainly improve operational efficiency.”

Integrated telematics: helping couriers to thrive in a changing world

Another barrier which national and international couriers must negotiate is the growing number of clean air zones that are being introduced across the European continent. According to the AA, more than 200 cities across Europe are now operating Low Emission Zones, many of which charge all non-compliant vehicles a fee for entering them.

Timo Klinge thinks that in the future the integrated telematics partnership between CX Euro and EuropeTrack could help couriers and hauliers not only save on costs but also boost profits. It is a view shared by Céline Laukemann, who heads CX Euro.

She points to a pioneering innovation recently developed by Courier Exchange members, which alerts them if a load they are quoting on or carrying will enter London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone. She says that CX Euro is installing similar technology and will shortly create a “Green Group” that grants members “access to zero/low emission vehicles” in just one click.

Laukemann said: “In the UK, members are already enjoying the benefits of this technology. By using it they can charge more per load if the load falls within the ULEZ. When the technology becomes available to CX Euro users, however, we think that it could have an even greater impact.

“Why? Because a large proportion of members make deliveries to customers in hundreds of cities across Europe. Often many do not realise that a low emission zone has been set up and they have to pay the price. Or they do not factor in the cost of the load and end up losing out financially.

“Integrated telematics could prevent this by giving them that real-time insight as to where the zones are located, what they charge and how they can be avoided. And in the future as we move from Low Emission Zones to Zero Emission Zones, this technology will help electric fleets to prosper.”

EuropeTrack’s Timo Klinge added: “In the future if zero emission zones become the norm, the combination of smart matching technology, integrated telematics and a virtual zero emission fleet will not just be a beneficial step, but a necessary one if fleets are to thrive.”

For more information: 0031-20-820-89-43 or info@cxeuro.com.

Alternatively, if you’re member of Courier Exchange: 020 8993 7100.