Decarbonizing Freight 2022

The decarbonization of freight is making dramatic shifts in the right direction, according to a survey of 340 shippers and carriers conducted by Kühne Logistics University (KLU) in partnership with Smart Freight Centre and transport management platform Transporeon.

As pressure mounts on shippers and carriers to meet critical targets on carbon emissions set by the European Commission, the sector is implementing significant positive changes observes Decarbonizing Freight 2022, the report based on the survey.

Carriers look more into measuring their emissions

“Carriers are perceiving greater business opportunity in decarbonization, developing greater carbon measurement capabilities and increasing their awareness and implementation of fuel efficiency measures,” remarked KLU Professor of Logistics Alan McKinnon, one of the authors of the report. “There has also been a substantial drop in support for hydrogen as a low carbon energy source for European road freight, with increasing interest in biodiesel, LNG and batteries.”

In its third year, the survey shows the percentage of carriers able to calculate transport-related CO2 emissions has risen from 46% in 2020 to 59% in 2022. Significantly, carriers’ views on sustainability have also improved markedly, with 27% of the 2022’s respondents agreeing sustainability represents a large or very large business opportunity compared to only 14% in 2021.

Shippers check emissions from their carriers

The number of shippers enquiring about their carriers’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has also markedly increased providing further evidence of their growing interest in the environmental impact of freight transport. Approximately every second carrier was asked about emissions by shippers in 2022, up from less than 30% in 2021.

Almost a third of shippers now have a decarbonization strategy and science-based targets for cutting emissions, up from 20% in 2021.

Financial incentives, training, collaboration

Despite encouraging steps towards decarbonization, challenges remain. Costs are still the main hurdle to the adoption of low or zero emission fuels by carriers, with the report noting government action may be necessary to financially incentivize carriers’ transition to low-carbon energy and vehicles.

It appears shippers prefer to take responsibility for calculations of the GHG generated by their contracted transport operations. Among carriers, a lack of awareness of carbon-reducing measures seems to be a major obstacle to their uptake.

The report suggests freight transport operators would benefit from closer collaboration with shippers and training in the measurement and reduction of carbon emissions. This will become increasingly important as the EU phases in Corporate Sustainability Reporting and introduces an emissions trading scheme for road transport.

About Smart Freight Centre
Smart Freight Centre (SFC) is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to an efficient and zero-emissions freight sector. It covers all freight and only freight. SFC works with the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) and other stakeholders to drive transparency and industry action – contributing to Paris Climate Agreement targets and Sustainable Development Goals. SFC’s role is to guide companies and their suppliers on their journey to zero emissions logistics, advocate for supportive policy and programs, and raise awareness. The goal is that 100+ multinationals reduce at least 30% of their logistics emissions by 2030 compared to 2015 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

About Transporeon
Transporeon boosts logistics performance and profitability with every freight load. Founded in Germany in 2000, Transporeon connects a worldwide network of more than 1,200 industrial shippers and retailers with over 100,000 logistics service providers in 100+ countries in real time. Its security-certified platforms offer digital solutions for freight benchmarking and sourcing, freight assignment and shipment execution, time slot management, shipment tracking, and end-to-end supply chain visibility. By leveraging the latest capabilities, including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, Transporeon solutions cut CO2 emissions, empty runs and truck waiting times while digitising manual processes. Transporeon is located across Europe, Russia, Asia and the US.