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Green Freight – where digitalisation = decarbonisation

The logistics industry has a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions: Approx. 200 million metric tons of CO2 are emitted by trucks on European routes each year.  We would need 4 billion trees (a forest of the size of Germany!) to absorb these CO2 emissions.

Decarbonise your road freight with FLS Green Freight

Green freight refers to a collection of technologies and practices that improve the efficiency of freight transport for our clients and our carriers and provide a means to benchmark and track performance. Green freight programs promote these technologies and practices across the freight sector to help cut costs, track carbon, and benefit the environment.   

road freight

Domestic and international freight activity will quadruple by 2050 if trends persist. With estimates that the sector is responsible for 10% or all carbon emissions, and heavy-goods vehicles account for a disproportionate share of oil consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution, and so represent an hot target for emissions control through the adoption of fuel-efficiency and emissions-control technologies.

But… decarbonising freight is more challenging than other sectors of the economy, Whilst the corner stone of greener transport is the fuel upon these vehicles run, be it electrification or advanced fuels other than quick adoption when these solutions become commercially available, the sector itself can do little to speed up the introduction of these products and infrastructure, but there is plenty of room to create a greener space using digital technology for sourcing, planning, insight and enabling better decisions about how our supply chain functions.

A systems approach will be needed—one that includes advanced vehicle technologies and measures to make freight collection and delivery more ergonomic and shift freight to the most sustainable modes and optimise supply chain activity in a sense, digitizing freight.

Numerous green freight programs and related efforts have developed around the world in the past decade. Most of these programs have developed a variety of approaches to promote the adoption of energy-saving and emission reducing strategies. Their focus, the types and numbers of members, and their data collection, performance benchmarking, and reporting methodologies depend on the transport modes they address, the pollutants and performance metrics of interest, and their geographic regions.

Whilst FLS is a fleet free company, there are two distinct ways we deliver a green freight policy.

The carriers we select for routes make a huge contributing to emissions both directing from fuel used and the manufacture and distribution of the fuel needed. So to mitigate this impact we:

  • Select the closest carrier vehicle to the freight collection point. (Proximity not Haulier Origin)
  • Evaluate if that carrier make another delivery on route to reduce empty miles.
  • Choose the shortest most fuel-efficient route to destination.
  • After delivery, can we fill that vehicle with another load close by to bring them home or close to next collection point. (return load)
  • An empty journey means another vehicle is travelling alongside you with freight you could have been carrying.
  • Lower miles = Lower fuel = Lower costs = Lower CO2

Many Hauliers can only provide you with a vehicle that’s available in their yard, using a company like FLS and its huge pool of carriers means we can select the nearest available vehicle for your collection, not only do you get your vehicle on site quicker it has of course produced fewer emissions getting to you.

Our staff are freight workers – so like it or not the distance we travel to perform our tasks to manage freight, has a contribution to the overall environmental impact of the freight we move.

We have a remote working policy with a target of 33% workforce remote working by 2022

Remote working reduces the number of cars on the road, thereby reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, and energy usage. It also helps reduce environmental and human health impacts because of decreased air pollution.

Aside from not driving, employees tend to act less environmentally conscious at the office than they do at home. For example, one study shows that employees are less motivated to conserve energy at work because they have no financial incentive to do so. At home, however, conserving energy saves money, which motivates households to turn lights off and power down computers at the end of the day.

The environmental impact of transport is significant because transport is a major user of energy, and burns most of the world’s petroleum. This creates air pollution, including nitrous oxides and particulates, and is a significant contributor to global warming through the emission of carbon dioxide.

The biggest impact of freight and transport on our immediate environment is of course trucks and vans on our roads. With over 300.000 HGVs over 7.5 tonne registered for use on the road in Great Britain (120,000 are tractor units for articulated vehicles) And with 2.5 million white vans (That is 1 White Van to every 24 members of the UK population.) Just 10,000 of these are electric or hybrid with the Renault Kangoo being most popular with its 170mile range

Whilst manufactures are working hard to reduce emissions and release hybrid and electric vehicle’s it will be many years before we see an impact from these. Whilst DAF and Mercedes have released an Artic truck this year it’s restricted to around just 30 miles travel between charging, so is only able to perform short shunting work. Volvo and Tesla are the most promising, 2020 will hopefully see the launch of Tesla’s truck extending travel to 500 miles, but of course like its cars will enter the market at a commercially challenging price point. We have a significant way to go to making a real impact on energy use and pollution.

Generally, the haulage company is only paid per mile to deliver, not to travel to pick up your load or for their journey home after. So if they can find any load to take on route to their pick or for all, or part of their return journey home, it helps cover some of the time and fuel costs, which improves the hauliers profit, reduces costs to the fright booker and very importantly means the vehicle is not traveling empty and causing unnecessary damage to our roads and environment.

A big component of our business is about filling these empty journeys. Our suppliers and encouraged to register their future empty journeys through our driver App, which we then see on our Ops system, this reduces these assurances and having to send another vehicle to run that route again, we find return loads for vehicles that are already running it empty.

The major other factor in unnecessary pollution from transport is over-specified vehicles, where you might see a single pallet on an artic, often manufactures have restricted relationships with hauliers and have little choice in the vehicle type supplied – it’s what-ever the haulier has available in its fleet. With access to over 12000 carriers we make sure the vehicle is as cost and environmentally appropriate as possible for load.

All links in a supply chain are connected and impact each other either directly or indirectly. It is our firm belief that understanding our clients’ supply chain as a whole is key in bringing insight in how cargo is transported in the most sustainable manner.

We think that we can affect the emissions by looking at the most efficient way from each client´s unique perspective to transport from point A to B. That requires a lot of knowledge from our employees as well as from our suppliers, but in the end, this will make all the difference. Our employees have all the competence needed in-order for us to give our client the personalised solution that they require. We only work with selected and preferred suppliers. Together we will cut emissions and in the long run be fossil free.

We can’t exit a discussion without the reminder that the enormous up-lift in online deliveries has far exceeded the resource of drivers available. The UK currently needs an additional 70,000 HGV drivers, with around fifty drivers leaving the profession on a daily basis. By the end of the year there are expected to see around 90,000+ vacancies. With over 1.6 billion tonnes of goods now transported by road in the UK, and the massive drop of driver availability whilst they are caught up in extended customs issues caused by Brexit – this will have an additional unwelcome environmental impact and is a crisis that needs to be abated, At FLS we leverage our technology and data to minimize your transport emissions.

FLS are a fantastic team of people, from the top management down. Every member of the team I have had the pleasure to work with has been extremely helpful and has provided a fast effective solution to the requirement I have given them

Logistics Manager

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