Refrigerated Trucking in Europe Market Intelligence

*This report was last updated in Q4 2018. Please click on request customization if you are looking for an updated version of this report

Report Coverage

  • Major Impactful Cost Drivers –Diesel Price
  • Major Impactful Cost Drivers–Driver Wages
  • Source of Information to Follow Fuel Price Evolution in Europe
  • Fuel Surcharge Mechanism: Index/Invoice Based Calculation

Market Size


12 Percent

Market Size Europe

EUR 57 Bn

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Regional Market Outlook on Refrigerated Trucking 

As the volume of goods transported by road is increasing y-o-y, the refrigerated freight market is also expected to grow eventually.

Transporting 75 percent of Europe's total freight, road is the predominant mode for freight transportation. The cold chain industry is cited to grow by 12 percent by 2019, as the demand for refrigerated transportation surges.

Strong economic environment and augmented global trade are predominantly driving the refrigerated trucking market in Europe

The refrigerated freight market share of Eastern European countries is expected to have a heathy growth in the upcoming years, as the manufacturers are expanding their presence to Eastern countries, due to low operating cost.

Refrigerated trucking industry is expected to reach a market value of EUR 55 Billion. Western Europe holds the major refrigerated trucking market share of 70 percent; and Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium are the major contributors.

Road Freight Price Index - Europe

  • Fuel is the major component influencing the freight rate, with positive correlation between diesel price and road freight index
  • As countries like France and Germany increased minimum labor wage, the price is expected to increase further


Refrigerated Trucking Cost Structure in Europe

Fuel surcharge can be negotiated with index-based pricing on long-term contracts, and regular review of prices can be done to control road freight cost in Europe.

Fuel and driver wages contribute to more than 50 percent of the freight cost. It is expected driver wages will upsurge in the coming years and might become a major cost component than Fuel.

Fuel Surcharge Mechanism

Type of Surcharge Fee Model in the Europe

Fuel surcharge mechanism based on miles would be more profitable and cost effective if the shipper has more of short hauls.

Index/Invoice Based Fuel Surcharge

  • In this method, a fixed percentage of fuel surcharge is added to the total transportation cost based on the range in which the EU diesel fuel price falls
  • The fuel surcharge increases or decreases in denominations, whenever fuel price moves up or down by benchmarking prices
  • The diesel reference price is the average of the weekly prices of July 2018 as published by the European Energy Commission

Fuel Surcharge Based on Mileage

  • For calculating fuel surcharge, the diesel reference price is the average of the weekly prices of July 2018 as published by the European Energy Commission
  • In this mechanism, calculating the exact average miles per Kilometre is the challenging factor for the shipper, which if calculated precisely can provide them a competitive advantage

Refrigerated Transportation Trends - Europe

  Integrated Delivery

  • The clients are now moving toward complete delivery solutions, which includes transportation, storage, warehousing, and distribution
  • The companies are now preferring cold chain third-party logistics (3PL) providers for their transportation and distribution processes

 Driver Shortage

  • There is an acute shortage of drivers in the European trucking industry, including the reefer trucking sector
  • The extent of driver shortage is estimated to be 400,000 truck drivers in the coming years and the migrant population would form major chunk of the drivers in the future

Carbon Emissions

  • The shippers are tapping vendors with lower carbon footprints
  • Refrigerated transport providers increasingly are choosing electric and other vehicles that run on renewable energy sources

GPS Tracking

  • The industry is moving toward the integration of GPS tracking to ensure that trucks operate on the designated route
  • The head office would receive an alert in case of route deviation, unauthorized stop or if the door is opened at unauthorized location

Sensor Technologies

  • The companies are making significant investments in IT infrastructure and sensors that provide minute-by-minute temperature report while the truck is on the road
  • Other technologies employed in the logistics industry include spiral compressors to increase the efficiency of the refrigerant


  • The EU mandates the driving hours for truck drivers according to which daily driving time shall not exceed 9 hours
  • The minimum wage law prevalent in Germany, France, and Austria stipulates minimum wage to be paid for the drivers when the truck is travelling through these countries

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