Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) Managers’ Guide to Distribution Costs 2019

“We are a glass half full type of people”


If the old adage ‘information is power’ is true, then the more information we have, the more it should empower us. Unfortunately, the adage is not exactly correct. Yes, the information does empower but only if the data is useful to us, and in today’s age of information, it could be argued that we have far too much information and we waste time sifting through the chaff to find a kernel of what might be relevant to us. This is why events such as the presentation of the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) Managers’ Guide to Distribution Costs 2019 are increasingly valuable.

The FTAI Managers’ Guide was compiled by Analytiqua and produced in association with BWG Foods, Enprova and KPMG. The Guide aims to benchmark fleet operational costs in Ireland and provide managers with supporting information allowing them to compare their data with the industry average. The research was carried out in the first quarter of 2019 and surveyed companies across the road haulage, logistics and own account sectors. Respondents were questioned on a wide range of topics including overheads, fuel and maintenance, purchasing, insurance costs and important training and recruitment issues.

The Guide was officially launched at Buswells Hotel, Dublin by Shane Ross (TD) Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport. In his address, the Minister said: “the transport and logistics industry is vitally important to sustaining our economy. A reliable and efficient transport industry is of fundamental importance to Ireland and the resilience of the sector is due largely to the many people working in the industry who contribute their skills and resourcefulness.”

Opening the event, the FTAI’s General Manager Aidan Flynn outlined some of the points highlighted by the report. He noted that over 50% of the companies surveyed had experienced increased business overheads of more than 5%. This was also the case with maintenance costs where 23.1% experienced a rise of over 5%in the last year. Although almost 30.8% reported no increase in maintenance costs.

The survey also enquired about the thorny subject of insurance, and in particular the area of motor cover. To this question, 53.8% reported an increase in premiums of over 5%, with 23.1% reporting a fall in costs. On the subject of recruitment, the guide notes some of the findings of the TUDublin’s School of Business’s research into (HGV) Driver Perception Survey which highlights the key reasons the industry finds difficulties attracting new entrants.

Apart from being a co-sponsor of the research, BWG Foods is also beneficiaries of the information gathered. BWG’s Managing Director Willie O’ Brien was keen to impress upon the gathering the importance of the research. He noted that due to efficiencies gained through improved route planning, the company has saved over 2.3 million kilometres.

Willie highlighted BWG’s progressive migration to gas-powered vehicles to service the 1,100 independent retail stores within the group, and took the opportunity to announce that BWG will further invest in gas vehicles for delivery in 2020. “The real opportunity of gas is renewable Bio-Gas”, he said, and called on the Minister to address this. In closing, Willie stared: “we are glass half full people, and we will do what has to be done – when we know what needs to be done.”

Paddy Sweeney from Enprova complimented the FTAI on the report and commended the phenomenal amount of work that went into the Guide. He mentioned in the findings that only two-thirds of the industry give any training to employees to reduce energy and that here there is a great opportunity being missed.

These are just a few brief extracts from what is a very comprehensive report and as the first of its kind, it sets an important benchmark for the future. There are plans for the FTAI to continue producing the Managers’ Guide next year and subsequent years. This will provide managers with a well-defined graph of how costs affect the business year-on-year.

The FTAI Managers’ Guide to Distribution Costs 2019 is a good read and well worth taking a few minutes to assess and compare the figures to your own business. The report is not just for the larger companies and the document will provide concise up to date relevant data about the industry.