Growing volume, margins under pressure in Dutch transport sector

These days, transport companies are pressed to quickly offer the best delivery. But that which was good enough only yesterday, is far from sufficient today. In its yearly monitor on freight, CBS observes that both domestic and international freight is growing and that the growth is not slowing down any time soon. But with that growth, the independent research bureau Panteia concludes, the efficiency of road transport is also in decline.

With increasing fuel prices and labour cost, it is becoming especially difficult for transport companies with a fleet of 10 to 50 vehicles to achieve sufficient margins. It seems that these companies are too large for the benefits of a nimble operation, yet too small for the benefits of scale. What’s remarkable is that those transport companies that specialize to a great extent are more likely to have better margins, regardless of their size. Especially those companies that operate in physical distribution, refrigerated transport, and tank-bulk transport saw positive returns last year. For shippers in the middle segment the question that arises is whether to grow of whether to specialize further.

What does this mean for shippers in 2018 and the future? Customers are becoming increasingly demanding, with stricter delivery times and demands. A good understanding of transport flows and the carriers of your choice is one of the first things to consider. Analyse your supply of goods and learn to understand where there is room for improvement. That is far from easy and requires insight, knowledge of the market, and making the right combinations. At IDS, we have a lot of experience with making that optimisation and we can help you make those combinations. Contact us for more information on or give us a call on +31 (0)88 4374370.