Couriers and hauliers are wasting opportunities to cut their carbon footprints, according to Lyall Cresswell, Managing Director of the Transport Exchange Group.
They are passing up chances to save money – and to save the planet at the same time – by needlessly running trucks and vans empty on return journeys across the UK.
"Private motorists are being urged to drive five miles less per week and play their part in cutting the UK’s carbon emissions as part of the ‘Act on CO2’ initiative – so the least the transport industry could do is ensure it is not wasting journeys," said Mr Cresswell.
"Sending trucks and vans out on the road without a full load is simply wasteful when these days the technology exists to match loads that need transporting with empty vehicles heading along the right routes.
"Years ago, it would have been extremely time-consuming and difficult. Nowadays it is simple, swift and secure – loads can be matched even at short notice. There is no reason to miss out."
Despite the competitive pressures in the haulage industry, in 2007 Department for Transport figures revealed that the average haulier’s vehicles ran empty for slightly more than a quarter of their time on the road.
"This is money down the drain – pure and simple. Even if we are coming out of recession, no-one can afford to be complacent about empty trucks and vans. If you miss an opportunity, you can be sure someone else will try to pick it up."
The 2,000 plus members of Courier Exchange, the world’s largest trading exchange for the sameday courier and express freight industry, are boosting their bottom lines in the current tough economic climate by ensuring they make the most of every journey.
Courier Exchange, set up 10 years ago by the Transport Exchange Group, alerts members by text and email when a load or journey that fits their requirements is posted, so they can react quickly and pick up the business.
The more recently established Haulage Exchange offers a similar service for transport professionals in haulage, freight forwarding and logistics moving loads of 7.5 tonnes or above throughout the UK and Europe.
Both exchanges vet their members carefully and offer ‘chat’ forums where members can post comments on the services they received from other members.
"There is no reason to have misgivings about using Courier Exchange or Haulage Exchange as we carry out careful checks on members, including their operator licences, training certificates and other statutory documentation," said Mr Cresswell.
"Finding your own subcontractor can be time-consuming and expensive compared with going through Courier Exchange and Haulage Exchange which both have members across the whole of the UK and indeed internationally."
The cutting edge software used by both exchanges allows members to stipulate in advance which journeys and types of loads they are interested in, and then to receive alerts only about those which are suitable.
Members can also look at an interactive map which shows, in real time, which journeys are available and where there are loads which need picked up.
Both exchanges run on a subscription basis, with no hidden extras, and members can elect to pay for several different levels of service.