Top 5 Most Disruptive Fleet Forecasts for 2018
Various road freight experts are speculating about disruptions the industry will face in 2018. Those include both opportunities and challenges to prepare for, ranging from changes in taxation to the forthcoming introduction of General Data Protection Regulation in May.
AFC’s John Pryor told Fleet News: “The pace of change we are witnessing across the fleet industry is unprecedented in my almost 30 years as a fleet manager.” We’ve rounded up the top 5 most critical changes fleet operators can expect.
1. Taxes on diesel
From April 2018, taxation changes on diesel vehicles will be implemented to support the government’s aim of reducing CO2 emissions and pushing for cleaner fleets. These changes to taxation will further underline the trend of petrol and alternatively-fuelled vehicles being included in company car policies throughout the upcoming year. (Diesel car purchases are already dropping, and it’s only February.)
Fleet consultant Rachel Lane told Fleet News: “There is clearly a lot of work to be done in this area in terms of modelling the most efficient mix of fleet for any business and I would advise fleets of all sizes to consult experts on the subject.”
2. Better tools, improved mobility
The road freight sector will get smarter about fleet mobility in 2018 thanks to the emergence of better tools. Interest in “multi-modal travel strategies will grow to embrace all travel types under one umbrella”, while tablet- and app-based systems like OnTruck will provide greater flexibility, transparency and choice for both shippers and carriers.
In-vehicle technology with improved telematics will be used not only for operational purposes, but also for safety, efficiency and to fight fraud. As the Operational Fleet Insight report reveals: “74% of fleets containing 100-plus vehicles are now using telematics, yet only 33% of them primarily use it to reduce accident rates.”
March 29, 2019 is when the UK is scheduled to withdraw from the European Union, so not quite this year. And it’s likely that date could even be extended. But as a trade industry, it pays to be prepared. We’ve already outline how Brexit could affect customs tax and duty and border issues affecting trade. Earlier this month, the government ruled out the option of the UK remaining in the EU customs union, and have yet to outline an alternative proposal.
But Geoffrey Brey, chairman of Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG), believes Brexit will also involve new opportunities for growth. He told Fleet News: “Businesses must be nimble and alert – and that includes within the fleet arena – and move forward as opportunities occur.”
4. Fuel prices
Fuel is already the largest cost faced by fleet operators and prices are on the increase, as most motorists will have noticed. Since October, the price of petrol has increased 5p to the litre and is continuing to rise at the time of writing. It’s important for fleet owners to protect themselves from fluctuating prices.
Actions that can be taken include opting for a fuel card with a larger network with a feature to monitor transactions in real-time. Such tools allow fleet operators to take advantage of changes in pricing at different locations, or accommodate peak driving periods, to improve management of fuel costs across the fleet. Better management tools also results in more fuel efficiency (see point #2).
5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
In May 2018, General Data Protection Regulation will come into effect, likely impacting employment for fleets in a big way. The GDPR builds on current data protection regulation with a stronger emphasis on digitalisation and technology. It affects mainly the way personal data is collected, stored and used (and carries a maximum penalty of £17.9 million for any breach).
Caroline Sandall, deputy chairman of ACFO and director of ESE Consulting, told Fleet News: “I think GDPR has perhaps been a little underplayed in terms of its impact on fleet. [It’s critical to] make sure you can absolutely prove that drivers understand what is happening to their data and that you maintain a robust audit trail to show this. The magnitude of this is not to be underestimated.”
Read the full article by Fleet News here.