Fourth International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight Transport

International Workshop | 30th November - 1st December 2017 | Departement of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Fourth International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight Transport

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from road freight transport represents a significant challenge with multiple technical, operational and political aspects. Designing, testing and implementation of effective interventions (managerial or technical), and appropriate policy measures need multi-disciplinary, multi-country research. The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight hosted academics and practitioners from all related fields during a debate onof these issues – to shape the research agenda and to network with key research groups from around the world.

Workshop Scope and Objectives

The workshop focussed on building links between academic research and practice with an aim to deliver world-class solutions to address the sustainable road freight transport challenge. Their ambition was to create an international network of practitioners and researchers working on all aspects of sustainable road freight transport, and to facilitate collaborative research amongst the specialists in the field.

Presentations were given on ways to improve the sustainability of road freight transport, including:

  • Vehicle, logistics and infrastructure solutions to decarbonise road freight transport
  • Alternative fuels for road freight transport
  • International perspectives and local green freight initiatives
  • Roadmaps to reduce GHG emissions from freight transport
  • Corporate GHG reduction targets, environmental policy design and execution
  • Role of data and ITC in sustainable freight transport systems

Smart Freight Centre was on the Steering Committee for this workshop and chaired a session on carbon and energy efficiency with 3 presentations from LEARN partners: 

  • Carbon Productivity in Global Supply Chains - Nico Anten, Herman Wagter, Harsha Dijk, Leon Simons 
  • Carbon Footprinting as Evidence-based Facilitator of Environmentally Friendly Transport and Logistics Solutions - Igor Davydenko, Richard Smokers 
  • Carbon Footprinting of Warehouses and Distribution Centres as Part of Road Freight Transport Chains - David Rüdiger, Kerstin Dobers, Verena Ehrler, Alan Lewis

The most important key messages:

1. Keep an eye out for the realities that companies face on the ground
Henri Palsson in his study comparing store pick up and home delivery, essentially made the link between freight and passenger transport. Interestingly in several situations the home delivery resulted in less emissions than people going to the stores. Another case presented by Jonathan Chadburn from DHL in the UK, concluded that companies are ready to move to more sustainable road freight alternatives, but good infrastructure lacks e.g. charging points for e-vehicles.

2. We need clear and directive policy to make this work
In a room filled with NGO’s, researches and company representatives it was clear that we need good policy to drive the uptake of sustainability measures in road freight. All presenters in the session that Sophie moderated made a strong reference to policy – research and industry can help government structure and implement simple policy measures to upscale emissions reduction from road freight.

3. Consistent emission measurement is key
Igor Davydenko from TNO explained that it is critical that companies measure logistics emissions with a common methodology. He made reference to SFC’s GLEC Framework (insert link) for a harmonized calculation and stretched the important role for government to set a clear direction.


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