The development of the logistics sector is moving towards the introduction of a sustainable supply chain that will reduce the carbon footprint created by the transportation of goods. What can be done to ensure that the negative impact on the environment is as negligible as possible? We present solutions to help you discover the green face of logistics.
Low or zero carbon freight transport: is it possible?
As part of reducing the carbon footprint of passenger and public transport, electric cars, and even electric buses, are increasingly used. On the territory of the European Union, the replacement of internal combustion vehicles with the latter in the future is not a wishful wish, but a ready-made plan, the implementation of which has already begun and should be completed by 2035. In fact, from this date, no new car or van can be registered in a signatory country of the agreement. Used vehicles can be used, sold and purchased until the end of their useful life.
If, in the case of passenger cars, customers are increasingly convinced by electric motors, electromobility in the truck segment still raises many questions. In 2022, this type of vehicle will only represent 0,6% of all vehicles used for truck transport*. Although more and more manufacturers are proposing to increase efficiency and autonomy, replacing the fleet of thermal vehicles with the latter remains a project for the distant future.
However, it must be recognized that the first statistics are impressive. According to a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation, hydrogen fuel cells in trucks can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 33 percent. In addition, if so-called “green” hydrogen – produced from renewable energies – is used to power them, emissions are reduced by up to 89%**.
Investors looking for zero or low carbon solutions are now turning to the rail transportation segment, which is seeing considerable success in this regard. The train is today considered one of the most efficient ways to transport a large load over a significant distance with minimal CO2 emissions. In some European countries it is already possible to encounter almost completely emission-free railways.
What are the solutions that will reduce the carbon footprint of the transport industry?
Undoubtedly one of the most essential ways to decarbonize the transport sector is to use environmentally friendly modes of transport wherever possible. We are mainly talking about rail transport, which offers the greatest energy efficiency and the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. However, there is no doubt that the decarbonization of road transportation is an ongoing process, and electric trucks have the potential to dominate this market over time.
However, it is worth noting other solutions that could determine the reduction of the carbon footprint of freight transport. These include the following aspects
- route optimization – thanks to modern TMS systems, logistics companies can plan routes so that their journey has as little impact on the environment as possible, regardless of the chosen mode of transport;
- cargo consolidation – assembling several small cargoes going in the same direction into one large cargo results in efficient use of transportation space. This makes it possible to reduce the number of cars, trains or planes used, which results in a reduction in CO2 emissions;
- efficient transport management – modern technological solutions can be used to plan the transport route and control it from loading to unloading. This will make it possible, among other things, to control fuel consumption, as well as driver habits, which can have an impact oncarbon footprint ;
- preventing damage to goods in transit – by protecting the goods you are transporting from deterioration or damage, you reduce the risk of having to transport them again;
- an efficient vehicle fleet – by carrying out regular maintenance on the means of transport that make up your fleet, you reduce the risk of breakdowns and unforeseen accidents. If in the case of truck transport it is about reducing waste of fuel and time, in the context of maritime transport it is equivalent to reducing the risk of causing an environmental disaster.
Sustainable logistics is not just about transport itself
While transportation is by far the part of the logistics process that has the greatest impact on the environment, it is not the only one. The construction and organization of warehouses and distribution centers also have a significant impact on the industry's carbon footprint.
When it comes to buildings, the use of renewable energy and water sources, among others, is essential. These include, for example, the use of photovoltaic installations and heat pumps, the recovery of rainwater, and even the use of gray water and carbon dioxide to cool buildings.
Also, do not forget about environmentally friendly materials for packaging goods intended for transportation and storage. Meanwhile, the management of goods at destination will be improved by “beacons”, miniature electrical devices that inform, among other things, the location of a particular cargo. This will make it possible to plan unloading optimally and organize storage space.
Choosing the right partners who share the same values also helps reduce the company's carbon footprint. It makes sense to entrust the planning of transportation processes to a company with relevant experience in this area and a wide range of available options. Road, rail, maritime or air transport organized in collaboration with the transport and logistics company AsstrA will be perfectly suited to this role.
Introducing solutions to reduce a logistics company's carbon footprint will undoubtedly take time to be successful. To ensure that all processes work perfectly and do not cause losses in the interest of investors, it is worth taking the help of professionals in this field. There is no need to rush into the context of changes aimed at decarbonizing freight transport. It is better to do this gradually but effectively – instead of betting on greenwashing, which does not help reduce the problem.