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Japan Road Freight Transport Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact and Forecasts (2021 – 2026) 

Japan Road Freight Transport Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact and Forecasts (2021 – 2026) 

Japan's road freight market was valued at USD 143.9 Billion in 2020. The Japan road freight market is expected to reach USD 172.82 Billion at a CAGR of 3.1% during the forecast period. The Japanese road freight market is driven by the strong performance of the e-commerce industry and the growth of the Japanese manufacturing and automotive industries. COVID-19 has positively affected the road freight transport market of Japan. Because of the lockdown in the country, many customers preferred to order food and groceries online.

The road is the primary method of freight in Japan. Approximately 90% of the country’s freight is transported by road. Less Than Truckload (LTL) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) industries are the principal driving forces of Japan's road freight market. Bilateral trade growth and rapid industrialization complemented by updated trade policies are the major reasons expected to boost the road freight market during the forecast period. Also, the surge in imports and exports of goods and materials around the world is expected to drive the Japan road freight transport market during the forecast period. To meet the growing demand, Japan's road freight industry is undergoing rapid development and structural changes.

4.73 billion metric tons of freight (409.9 billion ton-kilometers) was transported in 2018. As for transport tonnage volume in fiscal 2018, motor vehicle transport accounted for more than 90 percent of the total.

Over 90% of truck carriers are Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Because of the growing demand for e-commerce sites, it is expected that the number of mini cars and vans used for cargo transportation will increase soon. Despite increasing cash income and a growing Labor force, as drivers age rapidly, the supply of labor needed to maintain e-commerce and the overall low-price domestic market is still under threat.

Key Market Trends Driver Shortage Hampering the Growth of Japan’s Road Freight Market

The aging workforce and strong growth in online shopping have exacerbated the shortage of truck drivers. The driver shortage is a widespread problem faced by global logistics companies, especially Japan, which is one of the most severely affected countries because of an aging population. This situation has caused delays in the withdrawal of import and export cargo from major ports such as Tokyo and Kobe. In Japan, the shortage of truck drivers usually results in insufficient yard space and long storage time for goods, especially in Tokyo and Osaka, where most imported goods are transported.

Under the influence of these restrictions, Japan is a country with huge growth scope and broad prospects for automated transportation services. In areas such as Hokkaido, the demand for self-driving trucks is high, and there are few other options for transporting goods by road. Many logistics companies are studying self-driving cars to solve the problem of the driver shortage. Smart roads connected to autonomous vehicles can improve driver safety and optimize traffic flow, potentially reducing average transit time by 30 minutes. To overcome this situation in the Public‑private sector various efforts were made to solve the problem, such as the promotion of "improvement of productivity" and "work style reform" in the trucking business. The Japan Railway Freight Association stated that the shortage may intensify and predicts that there will be a shortage of 280,000 truck drivers by 2028.

Rapid Growth of E-commerce Driving the Road Freight Logistics Market

Fashion and consumer electronics are the most important e-commerce categories. Various international players such as UPS, FedEx, JB Hunt, C.H. Robinson, Deutsche Post, CJ Korea Express, Kerry Logistics are active in in the Japanese e-commerce and parcel delivery market.

The domestic e-commerce market continues to expand revenue. Also, small and medium-sized companies are increasingly entering online sales, including peer-to-peer flea market applications. With this expansion, the demand for shipping services continues to increase, which brings new challenges and opportunities to the logistics industry.

Japan's e-commerce transportation industry pattern is dominated by three expansion organizations, which control more than 90% of the domestic parcel delivery market. The largest transporter Yamato Transport Company delivers more than 1.8 billion packages each year. Close competitor Sagawa Express provides logistics services to major customers, including Amazon. Japan Post is the third-largest player.

Credit or debit card is the most popular online payment method in Japan, with bank transfer and cash the next on the list. There were 117.4 million internet users in Japan in January 2021. The number of internet users in Japan increased by 890 thousand (+0.8%) between 2020 and 2021. Internet penetration in Japan stood at 93.0% in January 2021. The number of mobile connections in Japan increased by 6.1 million (+3.1%) between January 2020 and January 2021.

Competitive Landscape

The market is relatively concentrated with Nippon Express, Hitachi Transport System Ltd., Sankyu Inc., Konoike Transport Co.Ltd., Fukuyama Transporting Co.Ltd. being its major players. Japan’s value-added services are growing rapidly, and the country’s e-commerce market has seen unprecedented growth. There is a shortage of drivers in Japan. Many companies are working on self-driving vehicles for freight transportation.

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1.1 Study Assumptions
1.2 Scope of the Study

2.1 Analysis Methodology
2.2 Research Phases


4.1 Insights on Freight Rates
4.2 Industry Value Chain Analysis
4.3 Market Dynamics
4.3.1 Drivers
4.3.2 Restraints
4.3.3 Opportunities
4.3.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

5.1 By End User
5.1.1 Construction
5.1.2 Oil & Gas and Quarrying
5.1.3 Agriculture, Fishing, and Forestry
5.1.4 Manufacturing & Automotive
5.1.5 Distributive Trade
5.1.6 Others (Pharmaceutical and Healthcare)
5.2 By Vehicle Type
5.2.1 Less Than Truckload (LTL)
5.2.2 Full Truckload (FTL)

6.1 Market Concentration Overview
6.2 Company Profiles
6.2.1 Nippon Express Co.Ltd.
6.2.2 Hitachi Transport System Ltd.
6.2.3 Sankyu Inc.
6.2.4 Konoike Transport Co.Ltd.
6.2.5 Fukuyama Transporting Co.Ltd.
6.2.6 Seino Transportation Co.Ltd.
6.2.7 K.R.S.Corporation
6.2.8 Trancom Co.Ltd.
6.2.9 Maruzen Showa Unyu Co.Ltd.
6.2.10 Alps Logistics Co.Ltd. *


8.1 Macroeconomic Indicators (GDP Distribution by Activity, Contribution of Transport and Storage Sector to economy)
8.2 Insights on Capital Flows (investments in Transport and Storage Sector)
8.3 E-commerce and Consumer Spending-related Statistics
8.4 External Trade Statistics - Export and Import, by Product and by Country

Report Title: Japan Road Freight Transport Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact and Forecasts (2021 – 2026) 

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