Decarbonizing Road Freight

International Transport Forum | 28-29 June 2018 | Paris, France 

Decarbonizing Road Freight

This event was part of the ongoing Road Freight sectorial stream of work that is integrated in the wider ITF Decarbonising Transport (DT) project. A report will summarise the discussions and gather the recommendations of the workshop. The conclusions of the workshop will also serve as inputs to the ITF modelling work on freight transport and inform the decarbonising scenarios that ITF is building. The DT project aims to identify and promote policies which are both cost-effective in mitigating the climate change impact of road freight activities and improving the sector’s operational efficiency.

The workshop covers:

  • Logistics and supply chains
  • Alternative fuels
  • Vehicle efficiency
  • Intelligent systems and eco-driving
  • The role of infrastructure
  • Emerging trends
  • Review of policy implications

Sophie Punte of Smart Freight Centre moderated a session on how changes to logistics and supply chains might contribute to decarbonising the sector. Panelists included:

  • Marc Verelst, P&G/ALICE, Open network of hyper connected logistics clusters towards Physical Internet-Clusters 2.0 
  • Michiel de Bok, TU Delft, An empirical agent-based model for urban road freight transport 
  • Nico Anten, Connekt, Lean and Green logistics

Main takeaways from the session were:

  • Logistics and supply chain options to reduce emissions include improving asset utilization, optimizing freight transport modes and reducing freight transport demand. While the emission reduction potential can be as high as 30-50%, there are fewer case studies with substantiated costs and benefits that are needed to de-risk investment by companies in these options. For this reason, the focus tends to maintain on measures that improve fleet efficiency and reduce the carbon content of fuel, which are easier to implement by companies individually.
  • Ample initiatives and efforts exist on logistics improvement, of which the panelists presented three from Europe: CargoStream for collaboration platform between 20-25 shippers wanting to combine loads and share assets; Lean and Green as a program to help companies to reduce emissions combined with a tool to analyze emissions from particular supply chains; and the MASS-GT simulation model for freight demand in cities. A challenge is how to link and scale these efforts globally.

Three key recommendations resulted from the session: reliable and accessible data is a prerequisite to managing logistics emissions; business has the ability and motivation to lead innovation and collaboration efforts; government support in the form of policies, programs and infrastructure are critical for business to scale their efforts beyond pilots.

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