The impact of empty running trucks on economy and environment: (A case study on the Addis Ababa- Djibouti Corridor)

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Addis Ababa University


Road transport is the backbone of the real economy but its future health depends on providing better environmental and economic benefits, not simply more transport. And hence it calls for an efficient transport to improve the economic growth that takes into account the emissions that drives climate change. Vehicle utilization level is a measure of how efficiently the freight sector is transporting goods. When transporters cannot arrange for a return shipment, the empty truck move doesn‟t generate revenue, but accumulates costs in labor, equipment wear, and fuel and produce hazardous emissions. Currently, in Ethiopia, the gap in trade balance is very wide resulting in poor vehicle utilization level (for transport between the capital city and port), transparency is lacking and responsibilities are fragmented, and hence that the current road freight transport system is not taking advantage of its large scale. The main objective of this research was focused on providing a better understanding of goods transport along Addis Ababa – Djibouti corridor and describing the impact of vehicle utilization level inefficiency on the environment with respect to CO2 emission and on the economy of the country in terms of vehicle operating costs and loss of foreign currency in Ethiopia. A combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed in this study. To reflect on the efficiency performance of the freight transport in Ethiopia particularly along Addis Ababa – Djibouti corridor, the goods flow, different stakeholders and constraints were mapped out and discussed based on the literature review and the interviews. Secondary data was collected from the different stakeholders and was analyzed using formulas from literature reviews to assess the load factor and empty running rates along Addis Ababa – Djibouti corridor. CO2 emission, truck operating costs, trade balance deficit and the loss in foreign currency due to the empty running trucks was also estimated. The study showed that the trade balance deficit is found to be the main transport inefficiency factor amounting to 90% trade imbalance, The rate of empty running which mainly results from the trade balance deficit is estimated to be 46% and the country is losing around 300 million dollars of foreign currency per year accompanied by a 200,000tons of unnecessary CO2 emission per year. This paper does not attempt to suggest that partly loaded or empty running trucks can be fully eliminated; however there is a room for improving the economic sector of the country by increasing export volume while sustaining the same CO2 emission level The impact of empty running truck on economy and environment (A case study on the Addis Ababa- Djibouti corridor) III if not decreasing the disadvantage that the emission contributes to the environment. Keywords: Road freight transport, empty running trucks, back-loading, trade balance deficit, efficiency



Road freight transport; empty running trucks; back-loading; trade balance deficit; efficiency