Gradual evolution of road transport from B2B to B2C


*Brigade Electronics Discusses Delivering Global Road Safety for Transport and Logistics

The delivery, courier and logistics sector has grown exponentially over the last decade. Since 2009, the industry’s market share has more than doubled worldwide going from $172 billion to $361 billion in 2019. Road haulage makes up a significant part of this and is estimated to register an annual growth rate of 5.5% over the next five years.

Traditionally, delivery services were primarily focused on the business to business market. However, with the advent of online shopping has come a greater demand for consumer carriers with the home shopping sector expected to make up the majority of the delivery market by 2023.

For the retail sector, the popularity of online shopping has become a huge but highly competitive industry. The promise of next day deliveries and free postage has increased pressure on companies and resulted in a significant rise in the global production of trucks to supplement the growing freight demand. Alongside this, many retailers are employing courier services which operate with freelance workers and drivers, adding to traffic on the roads. However, the shortage of qualified truck drivers and the high exposure of drivers to road traffic injuries are limiting market growth.

Road accidents occur for various reasons. These include poor road maintenance, busy roads, and lack of safety features in vehicles. While road maintenance and heavy traffic conditions cannot be managed by road freight and delivery companies, protecting employees, drivers and other road users from death and injury is a priority.

In addition to the potential danger to people’s lives, the costs incurred from accidents are also an issue for businesses. Rising insurance premiums and compensation claims, along with the costs incurred when vehicles are off the road or being repaired can hit companies hard.

Blind spots can create particularly dangerous situations for drivers, including back up accidents due to the rear blind spot, and cyclist and pedestrian collisions due to nearside blind spots. Negotiating narrow residential streets and backing up into unfamiliar spaces amid traffic congestion can create hazards for even the most experienced of delivery drivers.

Vehicle safety systems can help. Corey Heniser, a vehicle safety expert at Brigade Electronics INC, explains more: “Enhancing safety on our road network is absolutely critical to improving fatal incident rates. One of our commitments is to help industries, including transport and logistics, by improving driver conditions through the aid of vehicle safety technology that will alert and warn them when objects or people are in a vehicle’s blind spot.”

These include audible warning alarms to alert pedestrians and other road users outside the vehicle when it is backing up, video recording equipment to determine the cause of incidents and to aid in deterring poor driving, and ultrasonic detection systems so drivers can be made instantly aware of objects or people in the immediate vicinity.

Driver visibility is crucial to solving blind spots. Although mirrors have been a legal requirement for many years, they aren’t entirely risk-free, and in some cases mirrors can make blind spots even worse as drivers have to make numerous checks by scanning multiple mirrors – all while watching the road.

Brigade’s best-selling Backeye360 has been designed with this in mind. The 360-degree awareness system completely eliminates blind spots by providing a complete view of a vehicle’s surroundings in real time, which is fed back to the driver via a screen mounted inside the cab. However, simply installing commercial vehicle technology does not mean a company’s safety obligations have been met. “We guide and advise our customers with our expertise by helping them to improve their vehicle safety strategies and plans. It’s important for companies to show a demonstrable commitment to safety otherwise fitting safety products becomes a meaningless exercise,” Corey added.

One company which has benefited from Brigade’s global road safety expertise is North Kent Distribution, which specializes in pallet deliveries. It fitted Brigade’s Backeye360 camera system to its fleet of vehicles. Gary Knight, Director at the company, said: “Despite driver training, our vehicles were still being damaged where drivers had caught things. We also had a few big insurance claims, but it was the little ones that were the problem. We were seen as an easy target and could not dispute claims. We also had incidents where multiple third parties were claiming to be in a vehicle they clearly had not. Backeye360 has helped our drivers enormously. It provides good all-round vision and is much better than normal cameras because it gives you a bird’s-eye view.”