Friday, August 16, 2013

Guest Post - Reducing the footprint of logistics

The burden of logistics

Logistics is a notoriously environmentally unfriendly system, using heavy good vehicles and transport systems to move goods, services and people around the world. The carbon created is staggering and impacts the environment in a huge way. From moving containers across the world through containerised shipping or moving people from point to point, carbon creation is inevitable.

However there are many ways that the logistics industry is trying to reduce its carbon footprint, as it understands the need to protect the ecological and environmental systems around it. There are measures that logistic companies take to reduce their footprint to make sure they’re making changes where they can to make a difference.

Speed limits and emissions

All heavy good vehicles in Europe are restricted to 56 mph/ 90 kmh for both safety, and for emissions. By reducing their speed they’re effectively cutting the emissions down by cutting fuel usage. This is an attempt to create an optimal level for the vehicle to work at.

European standards are not only applied to speed, but also to the amount of emissions that a vehicle is allowed to create. The European emission standards were created in a series of European Union directives to slowly cut the amount of emissions created by vehicles, from Euro 1 to Euro 6. Cities such as London have become low emission zones, only allowing Euro 5 or higher vehicles into the area free of charge otherwise charging vehicles with a lower rating. While it met criticism from the Freight Transport Association, it was welcomed by the British Heart Foundation and the British Lung Foundation.

Biofuels on the move

For logistic companies running possibly thousands of trucks throughout Europe, fuel is a massive concern and a huge cost. To make the most of the fuel they have, logistic companies such as hauliers make sure there vehicles are never being run without a load on-board. Systems such as part-loading and partnerships with other haulage companies allow vehicles to be used to their maximum capacity at all times and increase the efficiency of the whole industry.

Changing what fuel is used by vehicles is a sure way to reduce emissions with bio methane a viable Eco-friendly solution to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles, and has been adopted by some large players in the logistics industry. Coca-Cola Enterprise being the first to make the change, with a saving of 50% fewer emissions.

Saving through storage

As well as the various methods of reducing carbon when on the road, there are a few ways that logistics companies are able to reduce the footprint of the buildings and warehousing they use for storage. Solar panels on the rooves of large building give a brilliant way for a company to generate solar energy, and with government initiatives in place for companies to make use of renewable energy, a company may find it less of an initial investment than anticipated. Pallets are something that are used every day by haulage firms and can often go overlooked. There are many recycling schemes available to companies for the recycling of pallets, turning them into pellets for wood fires is just one option available.

Government Policies

These are a few of the ways that logistic companies are trying to minimise their impact. Governments across the world are trying to reduce carbon emissions and as new policies come into place the logistics industry has to make changes to their own policies or risk being in danger of being fined.

About the author
This article was written exclusively for Reduce Footprints by Matt Everard of Barrington International Freight Forwarders.