Greener Technologies in Freight

On 13th September 2021 transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that the UK will work to a zero emissions target for international shipping by 2050. Growing public concerns over the impacts of lifestyle on our planet, are leading to increasing interest in the practices carried out by the companies supplying goods and services in our day to day lives. Increased pressure from the public as well as national and global warming targets mean the spotlight is on any organisation offering goods and services to demonstrate how they are playing their part to build a more sustainable future. 

As shipping companies begin to set their sustainability goals there are a number of areas under focus in the freight industry as a whole such as carbon emissions, energy consumption and materials and how these areas can be carved into more sustainable practices. 

Fortunately there are new technologies emerging which can help to combat climate change and the part played by freight companies and the supply chain in general. In this article we look at ways the freight industry is looking to make sustainable changes.

  1. Sea Freight – IMO’s Sulfur Regulations

In January of 2020 the International Maritime Organisation set a new limit for sulfur emissions, to bring them down to 0.5% mass by mass from the previous limit of 3.5%. The way in which carriers made the adjustment was in a number of different ways mainly through the use of low sulfur fuels with a small number using liquified natural gas (LNG). 

  1. Air Freight – Sustainable Aviation Fuel

There has been a lot of talk around sustainable aviation fuel lately, the demand for it has intensified over recent years as fliers are more conscious of their environmental impact. 

Sustainable aviation fuel can be made from a number of sources such as plants, cooking oil and solid waste. 

  1. Road Freight – Route Optimisation Technologies

Route optimization technology gives the opportunity to make huge cost savings as well as run road freight more efficiently and sustainably. Decreasing the amount of miles covered will naturally decrease the amount of emissions and is therefore a hug motivator for logistics companies to integrate this kind of technology into their plans. 

  1. Rail Freight – Battery powered trains

According to an article by the BBC, Hitachi Rail has said that some Great Western Railway services could potentially be “powered by a combination of batteries and electricity and diesel. By using battery power it could reduce fuel consumption by 20%, improve air quality and reduce noise levels. 

A sustainable future is the top priority for most and a hot topic, be that in business or international goals as outlined in the treaty for climate change – the Paris Agreement. A greener way of life is one of the most talked about subjects in home and work and how we can all make small changes to make a big difference.

Fortunately new technologies are being developed as we speak in order to help in the fight against climate change and sustain our planet. It is very much a work in progress, but the freight industry plays a major role in helping towards a more sustainable supply chain.

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