Challenges of the Transport Sector

Transport operators have to define their strategy in a difficult and changing business environment under the joint pressure of reinforced competition, regulation and climate change.

The rail sector is facing a strong movement of liberalisation in Europe, with merchandise and international passenger market segments fully open to competition, while a few national markets are already fully open to competition. Independent regulators emerge in all countries, starting to play their role to strengthen the unbundling between regulated and unregulated activities and ensure non discriminatory third party access to the rail infrastructures.

Although competition might develop slowly in some countries, in particular due to international partnerships entered into by rail incumbents, one can anticipate that, as in the energy sector, the European Commission and the national regulators will fully play their part to develop competition, whether it is welcomed or not.

Incumbents will have to speed up their internal transformation not only to unbundle their activities, both to optimise their economic performance in a socially-acceptable way and to develop new strategies to retain B2B and B2C customers, but also to strengthen or build market positions abroad in order to compensate for lost market share at home.

New entrants will have to devise and implement new organizational structures and marketing and sales strategies to penetrate these new markets in a sustainable way.

All players face the challenge of eco-mobility, a major source of diversification opportunities in new businesses – individual and collective transport with zero GHG emission, multimodal transport, etc. – for those who know how to capture them.

In the airline industry, the economic and financial crisis and the development of low cost airline companies requires the acceleration of the transformation of the business models of incumbents and an improved capacity to meet customers’ needs. This includes the integration of the low cost approach into the traditional model, the implementation of appropriate partnerships and mergers, cost optimization, and the development of innovative customer retention and acquisition strategies.

Airline companies also have to prepare for the entry of the air transport sector into the EU-Emission Trading System, while strengthening their capability to guarantee the safety of their flights, both new challenges inducing new costs but also new opportunities of marketing differentiation.