The first of many steps to reach environmental targets

LSPs sustainability

This summer has seen some of the largest LSPs announce sustainability projects, with some companies adding new vehicles to their fleets or expanding services. This comes as calls for sustainable logistics practices increase on the back of growing environmental concerns, not to mention fast-approaching individual company emission-reducing targets. 

In mid-August, DB Schenker realised its goal of zero direct emissions in its Oslo city distribution network in Norway. To achieve this, the company ordered 11 Volvo FL Electric trucks for city logistics in Oslo, which replaced diesel-powered trucks. Globally, DB Schenker has a target of reducing its specific greenhouse gas emissions by 40% until 2030, compared to 2006. The company claims this successful milestone is proof it is meeting its long-term goal. It will be interesting to see this concept spread to further European cities, how long it takes and by how much this model will be able to reduce emissions.

Earlier in the month, Kuehne + Nagel purchased 13 new rigid vehicles and 50 new double-deck box trailers, all of which conform to the latest European standards on emissions and are fitted with telemetry systems, which monitor the vehicle and driver performance and in turn support fuel efficiency and emission reduction. The company already compensates for direct CO2 emissions and plans to achieve carbon neutrality for its suppliers’ and customers’ footprint by 2030 (Scope 3 of GHG Protocol).

In order to meet ‘Mission 2050 – Zero Emissions’, DHL also announced plans to advance its sustainable practices, however, not through its fleet but rather through the extension of an existing service. DHL has expanded the Eurapid coverage and added new features to its premium less-than-truckload (LTL) product. The service now covers 95% of all business addresses within 25 countries in Europe. All services booked via Eurapid are completely climate-neutral with the carbon emissions caused by Eurapid shipments are fully offset in recognised climate protection projects.

Finishing the month was Amazon. The company is to add 1,800 electric delivery vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. CEO, Jeff Bezos said that it is “part of our journey to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world, and we will be moving fast to get these vans on the road this year”. The urgency is not uncommon within Amazon and shows the capital it has behind its sustainable strategies. However, the speed is not necessarily because of the state of the environment, but more so the fact it has the cash.

Whilst these projects are moves in the right direction neither one of them is going to dramatically transform a company’s emission output. All logistics companies, especially leading providers need to work further to expand these types of measures or develop more impactful measures, and quickly. Ten years in the scheme of technological advancements may seem like a long time and the advancements made since 2010 are vast. However, many company’s 2030 goals are also substantial, and it is imperative they are achieved. At the same time, the customer requirement for flexible, efficient and cost-effective logistics services is only to increase. The rise of e-commerce following the pandemic is only to intensify this need. Whilst it is important for LSPs to remain focussed on their environmental targets at the same time as providing services, it may be in the interest of governments to promote existing, or expand, incentives. Grants for electric fleets, tax breaks or loans could all be used to push these strategies further.

It is clear from these new projects, along with many other LSPs working to reduce emissions, that the industry is acknowledging the severity of the issue. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of corporate social responsibility and choose companies based on this. It is now more vital than ever for companies to focus on sustainability and the environment in order to succeed going forward.

Source: Transport Intelligence, September 1, 2020

Author: Holly Stewart