Transpotec Logitec delivers the goods

Transpotec Logitec delivers the goods

Transpotec Logitec is well known to European transport operators, but we attended the exhibition for the first time this year. It turned out to be a huge surprise! CHARLEEN CLARKE reveals that it’s an excellent exhibition, well worth a visit.

We travelled to Milan, Italy, with subdued expectations. Honestly, we were not expecting much – just a smattering of Italian exhibitors at what we fully expected to be an event that was as Italian as Ferrari.

We were completely and utterly wrong! Transpotec Logitec – held at Fiera Milano – truly delivered the goods from leading European (not just local Italian) companies. It even managed to secure the participation of the so-called “Seven Sisters” (Europe’s seven leading truck makers) and another relative newcomer to the ranks, namely Ford Trucks. But the show was about more than just trucks…

Rather cleverly, the organisers ran another exhibition alongside Transpotec Logitec. Dubbed the Next Mobility Exhibition, it was dedicated to the sustainable mobility of passengers – a topic that is obviously very closely aligned with transport and logistics. After all, both sectors share significant challenges, such as the energy transition, digitalisation, and staff shortages.

The concept was a definite success: more than 33,000 visitors from 62 countries poured through the doors of the exhibitions from 8 to 11 May, to inspect the products and services of the 539 participating exhibitors.

As is typically the case at exhibitions, there were plenty of allied events. Just one was the opening conference, which (we were happy to discover) featured simultaneous translation into English. During this event, Italy’s National Register of Road Hauliers provided an overview of the transport sector as it currently stands. In Italy, there are about 100,000 road transport companies, with 14,172 so-called “community licences” and 925,589 CQCs (drivers with licences – see the sidebar for a full explanation). Critically, this is 250,000 fewer than in 2019. Meanwhile, the country’s third-party vehicle fleet increased by 7.34% from 795,000 units in 2020 to 853,363 in 2023.

Unsurprisingly, Federazione Autotrasportatori Italiani (FAI) Conftrasporto (the Italian trade association that represents companies in the road transport and logistics sector) listed the shortage of staff – with 20,000 drivers alone needed in Italy – as critical. On the other hand, in 2023 Anita ranked truck driver as the second most difficult role to recruit for.

In a similar vein, Federtrasporti revealed that more than 400,000 drivers in Italy did not renew their driver’s qualification card between 2019 and 2024, with the majority of these drivers aged between 30 and 50 years. The good news, though, is that youngsters seem keen to drive trucks: the number of truck drivers under 25 in Italy is growing, increasing by about 66% from 2019 to today.

Speakers also noted that, while the nature of the market is changing, so too have the needs of customers transformed. Today, customers require far more flexibility in solutions offered. As a result, more companies are combining traditional road transport with additional services such as shipping and multimodality as they move towards offering logistics as an integrated activity within transport operations. At the same time, leading companies are, of course, continuing to commit to an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable transport system.

The key theme of this year’s Transpotec Logitec was the energy transition. There was extensive debate on methods and timescales to achieve the European decarbonisation goals, from which it emerged that a mix of technologies would be required to overcome the sustainability challenge. Heavy vehicle manufacturers exhibiting at the fair proposed fully electric solutions, as well as those powered by biomethane andhydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). Initial hydrogen offerings were also in evidence – a green solution, but one still awaiting the development of an adequate infrastructure network.

There were many Italian and European vehicle previews in both the heavy and light categories – with electric dominating the latter – but there was also no lack of world-first previews.

Aside from the vehicles, there were also various innovative solutions and products on show across all sectors, with an increasing focus on low environmental impact and tailor-made offerings, from trailers and logistics services to fuels and components, which were the centrepiece of the Aftermarket Village organised by DBInformation.

Some important anniversaries were also celebrated at Transpotec Logitec. Italy’s National Register of Road Hauliers – which has played a central role in the evolution of road haulage since the post-war period – celebrated its 50th birthday, while FIAP, the Italian Federation of Professional Truckers, celebrated its 75thbirthday.

The next edition of Transpotec Logitec is in two years’ time, from 13 to 16 May 2026. Once again, it will take place in conjunction with NME. See you there!

What is a CQC?

In Italy, CQC refers to “Certificato di Qualificazione del Conducente,” which translates to “Driver Qualification Certificate”. This certification is mandatory for professional drivers of certain vehicles used for the transport of goods or passengers. The CQC is a European Union (EU) directive intended to ensure that drivers meet specific professional standards.

The CQC aims to improve road safety and the professional training of drivers. It ensures that drivers have the necessary skills and knowledge to operate vehicles safely and efficiently.

The certificate is required for drivers of:

– Commercial vehicles used for the transportation of goods over a certain weight

– Vehicles designed for passenger transport, such as buses and coaches

To obtain a CQC, drivers must undergo initial qualification training, which covers a range of topics, including:

– Road safety

– Health and safety of the driver and passengers

– Environmental issues related to vehicle emissions

– Efficient driving techniques

After obtaining the initial CQC, drivers must complete periodic training every five years to renew their certification. This ongoing education ensures drivers stay updated on new regulations, safety practices, and driving techniques. The CQC is part of broader EU legislation aimed at harmonising driver qualifications across member states. This ensures consistency in professional driving standards across the EU.

DAF in Italy: winning with service

While at Transpotec Logitec, we met and interviewed Paolo Starace, managing director of DAF Veicoli Industriali SpA, who gave us a fascinating insight into the Italian truck market.

For instance, he revealed that the Italian truck market was at its highest in 15 years in 2023. So what does this year hold for the Italian truck industry? He reckons that the market (trucks over 16-tonne) will amount to around 21,500 units in 2024. “We expect the market to drop this year after a very successful 2023; there is a lot of product in dealer yards right now,” he told FOCUS.

According to Starace, 70% of DAF’s customers in Italy are owner operators. “Driver comfort is obviously very important to them. However, it’s important to fleets too – because they need to attract and retain drivers,” he noted.

The DAF MD told us that competition is high in Italy. “We have to fight for every single order. We are generally one of the most expensive, although sometimes Scania is more expensive. Owner drivers are willing to spend a fortune on Scanias. Furthermore, Scania customers won’t buy a DAF,” he revealed.

In Italy, DAF is considered a “reliable and well-priced truck”. “But, since 2017, when we launched our ‘blue’ trucks, the brand positioning has changed. We have lost the very value-conscious customers. In the past, we used to compete against MAN and Iveco. Now we compete against Scania and Volvo,” he added.

In Italy, DAF is well represented. “We have 82 outlets (16 are sales dealers) and they are spread out all over Italy, including the islands. We own our dealers in the north, which is the more economically developed area of the country, while the dealers in the south, where the focus is on fruit and vegetables, are independent,” Starace revealed.

The service provided by those dealers has enabled the DAF brand to prosper in Italy. “How do you win customers without big power? We have 530hp – that’s it. So, we need to win with service,” Starace concludes.

Published by

Charleen Clarke

CHARLEEN CLARKE is editorial director of FOCUS. While she is based in Johannesburg, she spends a considerable amount of time overseas, attending international transport events – largely in her capacity as associate member of the International Truck of the Year Jury.
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