Green Freight Transport in Norway: Supply and Demand

Green Freight Transport in Norway: Supply and Demand


O Eidhammer, J Andersen, Institute of Transport Economics, NO


We study how far the Norwegian freight forwarding industry has reached in implementing green transport solutions. Results indicate that the supply of green freight transport exceeds the demand, and that large companies are more strongly involved.


Environmental concerns have influenced the political agenda for a few decades, and emission of greenhouse gases has in particular obtained increased attention during the few latest years. In contrast to established political goals, the European Environment Agency reported that freight transport in the EU member states increased by 35% between 1999 and 2006, and that the market share of road freight transport has increased in the same period. A stronger focus on green freight solutions is thus needed.

For the success of political goals, it is crucial how the stakeholders affected by a policy measure behave. Understanding and knowing the status and behaviour of the stakeholders therefore improves the ability to design policy measures that may promote desired policy objectives. More specifically, the environmental performance of the freight transport sector is determined by decisions made by the individual stakeholders in the industry. However, the environmental status and behaviour of forwarding agents is not widely studied, and is to our knowledge an under-researched area.

The aim of this paper is to explore how far the Norwegian freight forwarding industry has reached in its implementation of green transport solutions. In particular, we study to what extent different green transport initiatives are offered by forwarding agents, and to what extent their customers request such initiatives. We also analyse technological development represented by emission standards and use of alternative fuels, and to what extent the freight forwarders utilise trucks using the European Modular System (EMS). One hypothesis we explore is that large companies may perform better in environmental terms than smaller companies do. A second hypothesis is that companies engaged in cross-border activities have a stronger focus on green transport than companies limited to domestic activities.

The analysis is based on a three-stage data collection process. First, a set of interviews with companies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway were performed to assist the design of a web survey on transport agreements and green freight transport. The web survey was distributed to the members of the the Norwegian Logistics and Freight Association. More than sixty companies replied to the survey, giving a data set that can be used to shed light on the environmental status of the Norwegian freight transport industry. Finally, additonal semi-structured interviews were performed to obtain further explanations and support for conclusions.

The results from the survey indicate that the supply of green transport solutions exceeds the demand for such solutions. It is furthermore a clear tendency that results weighted by company turnover yield a stronger focus on green transport, supporting the hypothesis that large companies are more strongly involved in green transport solutions than small companies. The results are compared to studies from other countries where such studies are available.

The contribution of the paper is twofold. First, we assess the environmental status of the Norwegian freight forwarding industry. Secondly, we discuss policy implications of the findings, and point at possible policy recommendations from the analysis.

The work is document in a techincal report: Eidhammer, O. and Andersen, J. (2009). The logistics and forwarding industry ? Development and supply of services. Report 1019/2009. Institute of Transport Economics, Oslo, Norway. Main text in Norwegian, English summary.


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