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The necessity for a new quality standard for freight transport and logistics in Europe

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dewan Islam, Dr Tom ZunderORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The objectives of this paper are to: collect and analyse existing European international standards for freight transport and logistics quality; consult with industry actors and stakeholders in order to ascertain to what extent these quality standards (or quality labels) drive freight transport and logistics quality in practice and ascertain whether there is a need for a new or modified freight transport and logistics standard. The ultimate objective is to examine the extent to which new or existing, specialised, quality standards are useful as policy tools to improve the performance of freight transport and logistics service in Europe. A multi-technique qualitative approach was applied consisting of desktop research, telephone interviews, two rounds of Delphi study and validation by an expert focus workshop. The research identified transport logistics relevant standards and analysed them, in particular the following six specialised freight transport and logistics standards (EN 13011: 2000, CEN/TR 14310: 2002, EN 13876:2002, EN 12507: 2005, EN ISO 9001:2000, EN 12798:2006, and EN 15696:2007) and three key ISO management standards: ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 28000. The research found that the (six) specialised freight transport and logistics standards are poorly known, but that ISO 9001 and ISO 140001 are known and are capable of managing logistics quality. It also found that ISO 28000 is being adopted and that quality is not solely derived from standards. Based on the research the following recommendations for policy makers are made: no market demand for new standards exists; a totally free market is not seen as a quality-improving framework; where fair and free competition is not present, or is distorted, government intervention may be appropriate; the internalisation of externalities is seen as a state role; and that logistics quality is better determined between customer and provider. The findings are useful and applicable to European policy makers and service users and the research findings may not be applicable worldwide. The paper contributes to the field of freight transport and logistics quality standards by examining the existing specialised standards, their usage and the need or otherwise for new policy initiatives by the European Union.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Islam DMZ, Zunder TH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Transport Research Review

Year: 2014

Volume: 6

Issue: 4

Pages: 397-410

Print publication date: 05/06/2014

Online publication date: 05/06/2014

Acceptance date: 22/05/2014

Date deposited: 08/10/2014

ISSN (print): 1867-0717

ISSN (electronic): 1866-8887

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s12544-014-0141-5


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