Symposium on ‘Driving Efficiency in Europe’s Road Freight Sector’ highlights ongoing challenges
Over 170 top commercial fleet representatives, industry leaders and transportation policy makers discussed future of road freight sector in Europe
Last week Goodyear Europe hosted an event that saw over 170 of the continent’s top commercial fleet representatives, industry leaders and transportation policy makers attend a one-day symposium in Brussels designed to open a wider debate on increased demand for more fuel efficiency from Euro’s road freight sector. The symposium was built on a newly introduced report called “Driving fleet fuel efficiency: The Road to 2020“. The report predicts how fleets will cope with cutting CO2 and increasing fuel efficiency in an era of rising fuel costs and environmental legislation.
The symposium was opened by Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Transport, who welcomed Goodyear Europe’s ‘Driving Fleet Fuel Efficiency’ initiative. He emphasised that road freight is a key element of the economic system and its sustainable development is essential for the long term competitiveness of Europe. He also underlined that increased energy efficiency should be a bridge to alternative fuels. “To meet the policy objectives of the EU’s ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area’, the EU needs a clear and coherent vision helping to accelerate the use of alternative transport fuels”, he said.
A strong transportation industry is vital to the European economy, but at the same time, the EU has set a target for the industry to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.
Michel Rzonzef, Vice President of Goodyear’s commercial tyre business across Europe, Middle East and Africa was pleased with the symposium’s outcome, which saw over 170 key stakeholders debate and discuss key issues affecting the sector in an open and transparent manner. In different panel discussions, some of Europe’s largest fleets came together with industry players, experts in the latest fuel-efficient technologies, and policy-makers, to debate on the practical and political steps to take to reduce fuel use and move toward a more sustainable future.
The Symposium built on recently conducted opinion research which confirmed that the overwhelming majority of fleets already have robust fuel efficiency measures in place and that many are increasingly struggling to see what else they can do to improve efficiency and lower carbon emissions to achieve even tougher targets. Rzonzef also described how low rolling resistance tyres are one option to improve a fleet’s fuel efficiency, amongst many others, such as eco-driving training for truck drivers, improved logistics, route planning and aerodynamics on vehicles.
Goodyear’s research also indicated that many fleets don’t know the factors influencing
fuel efficiency and find it difficult to know whether the cost of investing in fuel saving equipment will pay off in fuel savings. According to the company’s survey, over a quarter of fleet managers believe a tool that could predict the lifetime costs and fuel savings of equipment would incentivize them to take measures to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.
In order to answer this need and help enable fleet managers to make the right investment decisions and cut their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, Goodyear also announced it would launch a free-of-charge fuel efficiency calculator. Fleets will be trialing the free web-based tool before it is launched to the public on the 21st February.
“It was a landmark event for us”, said Rzonzef. “Every participant learned a great deal and our commitment to the sector is clear. The Road to 2020 report was very well received and our calculator is eagerly anticipated by the fleets.”