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On the road again - greening logistics

15 August 2008
On the road again - greening logistics

By Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group.

A survey by 'Eye for Transport' (pdf) on the Business Assurance website is a snapshot of the progress of the industry in greening logistics. More businesses than last year say that more efficient supply chains are a business priority:

The vast majority of respondents, 70% in 2007 and 73% in 2008, divulged that over the next three years green issues will become more important to their transport and logistics processes. An average of 19% expect green issues to remain as important to their transport and logistics processes as they are now, and only 1% expect a lessening of importance.

This is good news, as logistics activities are predicted to grow 23% from 2002 to 2020, representing 18% of European GHG emissions in 2020. The survey results also makes sense considering that a KPGM study 'Climate Changes You Business' said the transport sector is one of the lowest rated in preparedness for climate change (the worst of 18 sectors reviewed).

So there's nowhere to go but up. This Climate Change Corp article which cites the study talks about some of the same measures that can be taken to optimise logistics as our SMART 2020 report (see chapter 3) such as eco-driving, logistics network optimisation, intermodal shift, and better freight management so trucks aren't underfilled or empty.

Road transport is still the biggest culprit in logistics emissions: SMART 2020 found that 70% of the abatement opportunity would be in reducing road transport.

Supply chain and logistics have become such a focus recently for comapnies trying to reduce costs, and there seem to be so many products and services out there to help manage them, that its a bit of a surprise to see that transport ranked so low in KPMG's report. Barriers still remain as most of the companies that take efficiency seriously are the biggest players (who presumably benefit from economies of scale). However, top 10 players in the road frieght market (including DHL, SChenker, DSV, and Gefco) make up just 10% of the total market. There are a lot of small players who may need an open source freight exchange platform they can plug into if we hope to see the small solutions scale rapidly.

Bestlog appears to be the hub for best practice in Europe, bringing together government and business to promote best practice and solutions. It would be great to hear if there are others.

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