Annual operating costs for heavy goods vehicles could be slashed by around 28% per vehicle by 2025 by adopting new digital supply chain technology.
A study by the consultancy Strategy& paints a picture of a new world of trucking, where vehicles communicate with each other and the arrival of goods at their destination is controlled to the minute.
It believes the typical annual costs of around €115,600 for an average traditional long-haul truck could be reduced by between €17,000 and €32,400 a year.
Strategy&’s study said “connected” trucks, in combination with a digital supply chain, promised to radically overhaul the trucking industry, but companies that modernised now would be the biggest beneficiaries.
Automisation will lead eventually to self-driving trucks, freeing up drivers for administrative tasks initially and later dispensing with the need for them altogether, it said.
Connecting trucks to a wider digital supply chain would lead them to become more tightly integrated and would mean shipments arrived with more precise timing, granting greater transparency across the supply chain.
As the technology developed trucks would be able to communicate with other vehicles, meaning shipments can easily be rerouted if necessary.
“Some players, such as the truck makers, will look to offer increasingly sophisticated shipping solutions, taking over much of the territory now controlled by shipping companies and other logistics providers,” said the report.
“Technology companies will also try to enter the market and offer their own trucking and logistics platforms.”
According to the study digitised trucking is still at least a decade into the future but is already making an impact on the industry.
This is partly through efforts by manufacturers to make cleaner, more efficient trucks and optimise their use.
The main technologies influencing the market in developed economies will be vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and remote diagnostics.
The study foresees that vehicle to vehicle communication would enable trucks to reduce fuel by “platooning”, or traveling in connected convoy, which could save up to 11% of fuel costs for a three-truck platoon.
Remote diagnostics will allow operators to make more timely repairs and prolong vehicle use.