Discussion Papers

Michael Berlage, Franz Büllingen

Einsatz und Diffusion von Telekommunikation im Güterverkehr - Das Beispiel der elektronischen Fracht- und Laderaumausgleichsbörsen
Nr. 133 / September 1994


The expectations placed in telecommunications as a "universal solution to all problems" within the road haulage sector are high. Its application is expected to improve the exchange of information, to support the cooperation between the actors, to deepen the integration of transport chains and to avoid the high proportion of dead freight. The case of Electronic Trading Networks (ETN), which is analyzed in this study, reveals - despite these advantages - restrained acceptance and a low penetration of the market. The real development of diffusion does not meet the high expectations of the use of telecommunications. For this reason, we try to answer the key question: What are the critical factors, influencing the application, the adoption and the diffusion of value added services in the transportation sector?

Our analysis shows that ETN merely supports a part of the market process. Only under particular conditions, it will lead to falling costs and higher market transparency. Therefore, the effects on increasing productivity within the enterprises are reduced. The realization of rationalization potentials by value added services is confronted with problems concerning the user acceptance, the distribution of profits and the lacking familiarity with information and communication technologies. Further critical factors are the undesirable effects of increasing market transparence, the surplus of transport capacities, the anonymity of ETN and the decreasing demand of standardized transportation services.

The current development within the transportation sector leads to a fundamental structural change, which will improve the market chances of ETN for certain forms of usage.

Our hypothesis that strategies of improving the efficiency within enterprises do not necessarily result in an increasing rationality of the transport sector and to the avoidance of traffic, has been confirmed. The "problem solving character" of telecommunications is widely overestimated. The use of telecommunications can only be successful, if the prevailing conditions and the change of the organizational surroundings will prepare and support such effects.

Only German language version available.

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