5.1 F&LS-Introduction

The Freight & Logistics sector is a major enabler of global trade and vital for economic growth. It transfers products from origin to destination using a supply chain network consisting of road, rail, air- and waterways. Road transport is not only used for the last mile, i.e. delivery to the final destination, e.g. to a specific address within a city, but it proves to be especially efficient in many cases, e.g. when dealing with intra-European trade, connecting between nodes etc. Road freight transport constitutes a significant part of road traffic nowadays and constantly grows further.

The Core European ITS Services for the Freight & Logistics sector have the goal to assist drivers and road transport companies in dealing with two major issues:

  • Truck parking availability
  • Cross-border transport of oversize/overweight loads

The need for truck parking is mainly mandated from the driving time regulations that the drivers need to comply with. As the drivers cannot exceed the allowed driving times, they need to find a place to safely park and take a short or longer break, as needed. Other reasons also apply, such as waiting times for loading/unloading on nodes. Although the economic growth in the last decades has led to a significant growth of road freight transport, the availability of truck parking places has not followed suit, leading to a lack of truck parking spaces. Therefore, the need to better manage the available truck parking spaces is nowadays more important than ever before.

The Core European ITS Service “Intelligent and Secure Truck Parking” has the goal to offer a better management of truck parking services by providing to the driver information and guidance through static and dynamic information on truck parking availability and facilities on-site, as well as the possibility to make an advance reservation of a parking space are considered in this service. Therefore, this service contributes to the observation of rest and driving periods for drivers, the reduction of illegal/dangerous parking and the improvement of the safety and security of the vehicle, driver and load.

The second issue covered in this chapter is the transport of abnormal goods, a term that refers to the transport of loads of exceptional size and/or weight. The planning of abnormal goods transport throughout Europe is not a simple task for logistic companies. Each country has its own regulation on the matter, with different authorized dimensions and weights. For loads that exceed these values, a special permit is required. For EU member states, the Council Directive 96/53/EC provides information about the permissible dimensions and weights for certain road vehicles in international traffic. Vehicle combinations (trucks with ordinary trailers or semi-trailers) which comply with the criteria specified in this Directive may travel on roads within the EU without a special permit.

The application procedure to apply for a permit for oversize/overweight transport varies from country to country. In some countries there is an online procedure, in others not. The language barrier can also pose additional problems to the applicants, as in some cases the applications are only available in the national language or in a few other languages as well.

The objective of the Core European ITS Service “Abnormal Goods Transport Regulations” is to provide a portal that offers all the relevant national characteristics for abnormal transports in the EU Member States in a reliable, comprehensive, and interactive manner, in order to provide all the requested information needed for particular transport permits and the contact data for all relevant authorities. The two ITS Services shortly described above are presented in detail in the subchapters that follow.