The first ever guide has been produced to improve quality and competition in the transport and logistics sector.
The World Bank and the International Road and Transport Union worked together to produce the guide, which demonstrates how efficient trucking facilitates trade, generates prosperity and reduces poverty.
Aimed at governments and policymakers in emerging and developing countries, the guide emphasises the importance of the driver, condition of vehicles, technical inspections and business-enabling regulation.
It said employment in road transport services can account for up to 5% of total employment in some countries. A recent study in East Africa found that the sector created 1.2 jobs for each truck on the road.
Fleet renewal incentives and vehicle inspections can radically improve performance. Between the mid 1970s and 2008, average fuel consumption decreased by 40% – from 50 litres/100km to 30 litres/100km in 2008.
Deregulation also can dramatically increase efficiency. A study of the industry in Mexico in 2000 showed deregulation led to a 25% decline in the cost of commodity distribution.
The guide highlighted how high costs, reduced profitability, lack of road safety, environmental concerns, bureaucracy and corruption hindered development.
“Regulated carriers are often required to compete against informal operators outside of regulatory frameworks. Changing this scenario to establish a level playing field improves transparency, safety and sustainability,” said the guide.
José Luis Irigoyen, senior director for transport and ICT at the World Bank, said: “The billions invested in road infrastructure will only yield their full potential for economic growth and job creation if logistics services are operating efficiently along these roads.
“This guide provides a set of principles to help policymakers and practitioners assess the different challenges in road transport, and select a reform path most suited to a country’s stage of economic development and its institutional capacity.”
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