14 July 2022
The globalisation of the economy is possible thanks to liberalising international trade and reducing barriers to the movement of goods and capital. Logistics and transport are among the pillars of change that have enabled the economy to reach its current state.
Transporting products, raw materials or components over long distances, ensuring continuity of supply by storing reserves, organising and supervising supply chains is essential. It consumes many resources, including energy. It has a significant impact on the environment due to its scale. One of its manifestations is the emission of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. If we can reduce the carbon footprint of logistics and transportation processes, the effect will be felt by all of us.
Where to look for a footprint?
Let’s start with electricity and heating. Large logistics centres consume considerable amounts of energy, which is necessary for lighting, heating, air conditioning, internal transport, machinery operation, IT systems etc. Each kilowatt hour is important, both for the company’s financial result and for the environment. Savings in this area can be achieved in a number of ways: by replacing inefficient light sources with modern and energy-efficient ones, modernising machinery, building zero-emission, passive warehouse buildings, sorting plants etc.
Road, sea and air transportation are significant sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Wherever technically possible, rail and intermodal freight transport should be used, provided that rail lines with an electric overhead contact system are available. More and more all-electric delivery vans are on the road and the market is awaiting the launch of electric trucks. Replacing combustion engines with this alternative will be the next big step towards sustainable, environmentally neutral transport. This will only happen provided that one condition is met: the electricity stored in the vehicles’ batteries must come from clean, preferably renewable, sources.
Before the dream of electric trucks comes true, it is worth taking a look at the available fleet and choose carriers which use vehicles meeting the highest standards as regards exhaust emission. This change will be good for both the environment and your wallet because in many countries a cleaner engine means lower transportation fees.
Reducing energy consumption, and in this way also carbon footprint, is easier for companies that use advanced IT tools to plan routes and prepare transportation schedules. Every kilometre driven, every minute spent in traffic jams, every journey with or without a load, or with a load of incorrect size, counts.
Logistics without packaging does not exist. A box, a sack, a pallet or a barrel – they have all been produced and a certain amount of carbon dioxide has been emitted because of that. This can be reduced if the packaging is not thrown away after delivery but it is returned to the shipper to be reused.
Preventing global climate change requires action on a global scale. The effectiveness of the measures taken depends on the motivation of the companies and their customers have a lot to say in this respect. If you have a choice, choose a logistics or transportation company that can do a lot for the environment – and therefore also for you!