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Towards more efficient logistics: increasing load factor in a shipper’s road transport

Vendela Santén (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




Increasing load factor is crucial for transport efficiency and may benefit shippers because of its potential to reduce both environmental impact and transportation costs. The purpose of this paper is to explore how shippers can increase load factor in their road transport by identifying opportunities for logistics action and influences on load factor performance measures created by such opportunities.


A case study is performed of the outgoing goods flow from the central warehouse of a large retailer in Sweden. Data are collected from interviews with the shipper and its contracted freight forwarder, as well as from archival sources and visual observations, and applied to produce a framework.


Logistics actions that can increase load factor are identified and categorised according to packaging efficiency, loading efficiency and booking efficiency, all of which are linked to logistics variables and specific performance measures in the framework. Visual observations of volumetric load factor in vehicles indicate room for improvement via, for example, making lead times more flexible.

Practical implications

The framework’s principles can be used to support shippers in finding opportunities to increase load factor.


The framework clarifies the concept of load factor as a whole by explaining each logistics action’s contribution to increasing load factor, as well as the actions’ combined effect in the context of a shipper and its purchased transport share.



Santén, V. (2017), "Towards more efficient logistics: increasing load factor in a shipper’s road transport", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 228-250.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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