Greening Freight - Do Details Matter?

Greening Freight - Do Details Matter?


Levin, T and Norvik, R, SINTEF, NO



In light of the Copenhagen fiasco, a political solution to the climate challenge seems to fade away. The Gallagher review challenged the view that bio-fuels can be a quick-fix, food for fuel was a major concern. Thus a single measure that will have great impact on the CO2 emissions from freight transport is unlikely. This means that one has to look at smaller gains to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions.
One of the main objectives in The National Transport Plan for Norway is to move more freight from road to rail and sea. In the public debate rail is said to be climate friendly because most of Norway?s electricity comes from hydroelectric plants. Another deeply rooted argument is that rail has better energy efficiency than alternative modes. One problem with these views is the lack of detail and knowledge about how freight transports are conducted. Road transport is a necessity for bringing the goods to its final destination, thus terminal handling is required. Rail and sea born freight transport must always be in combination with road transport to be able to serve every business or household.
On problem facing the freight industry in Norway was the lack of tools to figure out when what type of transport was the correct? Most emission factors for freight transport are on the form grams / tonneKilometer. Thus distance and quantity transport are the only factors that impact emissions. To use these emission factors one also needs knowledge about the available infrastructure. As part of an industry directed research project a new tool for freight transport emission calculations has been developed. This new tool uses accepted European emissions functions taken from the ARTEMIS project. Digital infrastructure descriptions have been collected from national road and rail databanks. The idea has been to create a calculation tool that is sensitive to measures under the control of single firms. Thus available infrastructures including terminals are firm specific.
The Green Freight project aims a creating methodology and a toolset to make freight transport climate and environmentally friendly throughout the logistic network including terminals. Freight forwarders, freight owners and governmental agencies have teamed up to find a way to create an environmental accounting scheme that promotes greenification of freight transport from a bottom up approach. One of the key findings in the work package focusing on user needs documents that there is a quest for knowledge and tools for climate impact analysis at company level. The focus is not on great infrastructure projects that may or may not come, but on measures that are under control of single firms in the freight industry. The goal is to focus on energy efficiency and to keep all operators on their toes when it comes to moving freight as climate friendly as possible.
A key in making greening freight transport a corporate responsibility is to give the firms the possibility to assess different measures that are thought to be green. The idea is to give the firms the tools to assess measures that are small but under the control of the firm. One question that is often asked is: when is intermodal transport the right choice? The Green Freight tool takes emission calculations a step further as it looks at specific transports on specific networks. This paper will present results from using the Green Freight tool to assess emissions from freight transport and how this new type of freight transport emission tool can be integrated into everyday operations in a freight forwarding company. One part of the paper will focus on comparing results from the Green Freight tool with other accepted methods in Norway. Another part will describe the implementation of a tool based on very detailed data at an aggregated level in the operational systems of a freight forwarding company.


Association for European Transport