Eco-Friendly Transportation – Reducing Carbon Emission In Logistics Industry 2020

Table of Contents

Eco-Friendly Transportation And Green Logistics - Definition

One of the major contribution to environmental despoliation comes from the logistics industry. According to International Energy Association, fossil fuel combustion in transport sector is responsible for almost a quarter of the global CO2 emissions. Realizing the grimness of the situation, Europe and other developed world have taken radical steps to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from the logistics and commercial transport sector. 

However, the developing nations lag far behind and have barely moved beyond simply talking about it. In the developed world, increase in emission is in lockstep with economic growth. For instance, the CAGR in Indian CO2 emissions from transport sector, due to fossil fuel combustion, is around 4.5 %, compared to 1.16 % in OECD countries, and 1.04 % in North America, in the entire previous decade. 

Environment and growth are often couched together in mutually antagonistic terms. This is specially so in India, which is experiencing rapid growth spurts and is in a race to catch up on development. Globally, transportation accounts for the major impact on the environment. Road transport vehicles contribute 75% of the total carbon dioxide emission, and this number is spiraling exponentially.

 In addition, 95% of the road transportation runs on oil fuel, leading to almost 60% of the total oil consumption in the world. This naturally puts pressure on the national government to act more responsibly, and come up with domestic eco-friendly transportation solutions that help reduce pollution and gasoline demands.

eco-friendly transportation

Relevance of Eco-Friendly Logistics in India

Eco–friendly technologies are presently high cost alternatives for India. For the small-scale Indian logistics services sector, there are no commercially viable and efficient alternatives available. High capital investment costs are a major deterrent when it comes to importing these eco-friendly technologies. Also, the Indian logistics industry is yet to appreciate and understand that Green Logistics is actually compatible with their bottom-line.

With regard to saving costs, fuel efficiency, payload management, routing and driving techniques are of great importance. Performance metrics for monitoring these aspects are still unknown to small truck service companies masquerading as logistics operators. And owing to consumer apathy and lack of adequate awareness, going green and being greener than the competitors, is still not viewed upon as an advantage in the Indian logistics industry. 

The Reverse logistics industry that takes care of recovery, and is responsible for retrieval of parts, recycling of products and disposal of packaging waste, is almost a non-existent segment in Indian logistics. The rise of e-commerce has created a concomitant rise in packaging waste. It is true that many e-retailers have done away with paper receipts to support environment and enhance their green-image.

 But it is not enough, as these e-retailers do not provide consumers with the option of disposing of packaging material, even at a nominal cost. Mandatory legislation with regard to all of these issues, similar to the legislation in the EU, would definitely push both, the consumers and businesses, in the right direction, and give impetus to the ‘circular economy’, while at the same time, contribute to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan as well.

Rail transport shares have, over the years, seen a sharp decrease of almost two-thirds, from 89% in 1951. On the other hand, road transport share has increased seven-fold, from 10%, within the same time duration. It is essential to restore rail as a primary mode of transport, particularly for freight transport, because rail emissions, per tonne-km, are at least five times lesser than road emissions. This

restoration of rail transport does not eclipse the popularity of road transport in any way because, despite the bad conditions of Indian roads, road transport will continue to retain a major share of commercial transportation as they alone can provide door-to-door delivery, and are the key players in intermodal transport wherein roads are the sole providers of the last-mile delivery. 

To combat the increase in CO2 emissions while traveling distances, some obvious solutions like building bypass roads for managing congestion, adding capacity at specific chokepoints and speeding up traffic, can be implemented to enable the vehicles to maintain an optimal speed that helps reduce CO2 emissions.

However, it has not yet been set into action, even in the Pune or Mumbai Logistics transportation sector, where almost 80,000 trucks pass through every night, for want of bypass roads. Other solutions for road transport are replacement of fossil fuel based technology with bio-fuel based technology, or even with alternatives like CNG, hybrid, battery-operated vehicles and equipment. But these too seem improbable in the short to mid-term future.

eco-friendly transportation

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Road Transportation is the prime contributor of environmental pollution. Requisite steps need to be taken to reduce the greenhouse gas emission, and achieve environment sustainability. This is in line with green eco-friendly transportation, which includes Eco-friendly transportation practices that do not have a negative impact on the environment.

These Eco-friendly transportation practices include:-

Trip Reduction

A reduction in the number of trips taken helps to reduce the amount of fuel consumption and emissions. Combining part load bookings into a single load to reduce trips is a viable practice that freight transport can adopt.

Public transportation

Public transport is cheap and easily accessible, and carries a large number of people in a single vehicle. Public Transport is a boon for logistics companies, especially in Pune and Mumbai, as the providers can transport smaller loads through public cargo trains or vehicles.

 Public transportation is facilitated by the government. Hence it is monitored by the government and hopefully, appropriate green eco-friendly transportation measures are taken into due

Bio-Diesel and Electricity to Power the Logistics Vehicle

Logistics & Supply chain vehicles are equally contribute towards environmental pollution. Hence, adopting eco- friendly fuel and electricity are a good way of reducing pollution to preserve the environment.

Multiple Occupant Vehicles

Instead of opting for individual vehicles to go to the same destination or in the same direction, it is more economical and environment-friendly to use one vehicle for multiple occupants headed in the same direction. The greenhouse gas emission can be reduced to 1/4th, in this way.

Aerodynamics of the Vehicle

As per the science of aerodynamics, the structure and the body of the vehicle too impacts the gas consumption. Modifying the vehicle’s body and smoothening the contours to reduce friction and enable smooth movement, helps reduce fuel consumption, and thereby reduce

Green initiatives in logistics is a top trend in the Logistics & Supply Chain industry worldwide. The uncertain and turbulent economic conditions, unpredictable politics and unstable environment have

urged the supply chain industry, like the logistics companies in Pune, Mumbai, and other metros, to rethink and reinvent their strategies and prioritize long-term sustainability for all as the main focus. Green eco-friendly transportation is no more an option. It is a necessity and must be adopted by all transport services.

 Green eco-friendly transportation is the present and the future of logistics as it involves practices including effective utilization of resources, adapting transportation structure and making healthier commuting choices. Public awareness and active participation of the vehicle manufacturing companies is much needed.

 Use of renewable sources of energy must be initiated at all levels. Public and companies both must avoid using methods and materials that emit harmful gases.

Blog: Eco-Friendly Transportation – Reducing Carbon Emission In Logistics Industry 2020

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