No easy solution to reduce number of trucks on Belgian roads
Thursday, 13 June 2019
There are a lot of trucks on the Belgian roads and many of them are empty, the rest only half full. Credit: Belga
Trucks cause much of the traffic congestion in Belgium, but it may prove difficult to reduce the number of them on roads.
Figures from the World Economic forum say that a quarter of all trucks on Belgian roads are empty, and the rest are only about 57% full. Although these figures are from 2009, experts say they are still accurate.
As many trucks are not filled to capacity, there must be more trucks on the road, causing congestion on Belgian roads.
While a solution could be to load the trucks more efficiently, regulations often prevent that from happening.
According to Lode Verkinderen, Secretary-General of the organisation Transport and Logistics Flanders, trucks that transport chemicals must be cleaned before they can carry anything else, and trucks that carry petroleum can never transport food. This leaves trucks empty on return journeys after delivering their wares.
Trucks are also empty because of uneven trade, according to Wouter Dewulf, a transport economist at the University of Antwerp. Belgium exports more than it imports, so trucks come back half-full.
As a solution, another transport economist from the University of Antwerp, Thierry Vanelslander, said a large increase of road-pricing for trucks would mean fewer but better-loaded trucks on the road. Some companies, like the retailer Colruyt Group, bundle deliveries already.
One solution to the congestion, opening a night terminal in Antwerp, has been suspended because of its cost.