Indicator Fact Sheet

Load factors for freight transport

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-118-en
  Also known as: TERM 030
This is an old version, kept for reference only.

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This page was archived on 22 Feb 2017 with reason: No more updates will be done

Assessment made on  01 Oct 2004

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Driving force


Indicator codes
  • TERM 030

Policy issue:  Load vehicles more efficiently


Key assessment

Load factors are generally far below the theoretical maximum. While it is relatively easy to achieve full load on an outward trip, it is a complex puzzle to find return loads.Therefore, empty return trips are frequent. Transport of certain goods requires specialized vehicles that makes it impossible to find return loads - a gasoline tanker can neither bring milk nor pallets as a return load.

Load factors for road and inland freight transport have declined in the three member states surveyed, indicating that vehicles are being less efficiently used. For road transport, the slow decline in load factors hides more marked developments in opposite directions: on the one hand a clear decline of empty haulage since the 70's (see table 1) as result of better fleet management, and on the other hand a decline in load factors for laden trips. Companies are often more concerned with efficient time-management than efficient transport, resulting in an increasing number (more vehicle-kilometres) and a decreasing size of shipments (TNO, 1999), thereby contributing to lower efficiencies. "Just-in-time" deliveries may stimulate this development.



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