I’d like to begin by saying that I feel we have made some positive steps in the current framework toward solving problems for our customers and society.
Speaking personally, I have always kept close contact with people on the front lines of overland shipping, with a strong desire to do more to solve the issues our customers confront.
That’s the same attitude I have always taken in discussing the partnership between Toyota and Hino with Toyota’s President, Akio Toyoda.
With Mr. Katayama of Isuzu, though our companies are rivals, I have always gone beyond that position to discuss with him ways to coordinate together to solve the problems that logistics operators and drivers confront.
It is against this background that I can say today I am absolutely delighted to begin this new initiative among our three companies.
I’d like to start with a few remarks about the front lines of overland shipping.
Today there are over 60,000 logistics companies operating in Japan.
Every day these companies load, haul and deliver cargo.
It’s hard work, yet everyone involved in overland shipping takes great care with each and every package, determined to deliver it surely to each waiting recipient.
At Hino Motors, we share the perspective of our customers working at the heart of the lifeline that is overland shipping and are working hard to solve a slate of problems.
But the environment enfolding the logistics industry is unforgiving. If things continue as they are, the day may come when those packages stop being delivered.
One issue is a shortage of drivers. The reason is that nobody is willing to take the job.
Driving trucks is a tough way to earn a living. The risk of traffic accidents is ever-present, the hours are long and it involves a lot of work besides driving.
Long-haul drivers often spend as much time on work other than driving as they do on driving. Sometimes even more.
For example, loads of various shapes and sizes can take two hours or so to load. Then they may drive for five hours, wait an hour for their receiving appointment, then spend another two hours on receiving inspection and unloading.
Short-haul delivery work is no picnic either. With the explosion in e-commerce, multi-product, small-lot distribution and strictly scheduled delivery times are making burdens on drivers ever heavier.
The second issue is shipping efficiency.
In overland shipping, top priority is on delivery times and location specification.
Cargo volumes vary with the season and time of day.
These factors make it difficult to ship efficiently. Trucks are often empty on the return trip. The reality is that loading efficiency currently hovers below 50%.
The third issue is carbon neutrality.
Reducing CO2 emissions from overland shipping in Japan is necessary to achieve carbon-neutral operation.
Just replacing old fleets of trucks with electric ones will not suffice.
Unless cost-effective, user-friendly electric trucks come into widespread use, we will never meet our targets for CO2 reduction.
I mentioned shipping efficiency earlier. This is an extremely vital factor in reducing CO2 emissions from overland shipping, aiming for carbon-neutral operation.
As you can see from the points I just listed, society’s expectations of overland shipping are growing too burdensome for us to solve the problems completely.
In seeking solutions for these problems of overland shipping, there are many areas in which individual companies can and should cooperate with each other.
By coordinating with each other in a connected manner, companies can reduce waiting times and improve loading efficiency.
This partnership will also make it possible for more and more operators to adopt electric trucks.
Moreover, as these solutions make progress, we can expect work in overland shipping to become more attractive, so that the number of drivers and others involved in logistics will grow.
We are working transparently with logistics operators and others in overland shipping to transform logistics, so they can deliver the goods people want when they want them, bringing greater satisfaction to communities.