The transportation sectors face major challenges. Proportionally with the demands that follow both globalisation and population growth, the industries contribute with increasingly high amounts of GHG emissions from their core operations.
Simultaneously, legislative bodies have set cross-national goals that require organisations to rethink practices. For the transportation industries, this calls for a revisitation of global logistics.
The sector is left in a crossfire between commercially driven logistical market demands on one hand and regulations in favor of society and environment on the other. However, a successfully managed transition can lead to a competitive advantage in new, sustainable industries which potentially makes it an attractive transition to undergo, if managed right.
Need for bold responses
In a new Logistics Brief, Ramboll has zoomed in on carbon emissions, specifically, as the company’s experts lay out the strategic and operational challenges that freight shipping and transport must overcome to enable a sustainable future.
One of these experts is Leif Laszlo Haaning:
- Some of the global players are pushing the green agenda hard but as a sector, rapid changes are needed. The problem is that due to the nature of the sector, change is often very slow and core technologies very long in the making. Therefore, quick and bold responses to these challenges are vital for all, says Haaning, a Director in Ramboll’s Strategic Sustainability Consulting team.
Sustainability drivers in the logistics sector
For the industry to become more sustainable in terms of emissions, focus should be on three main drivers being zero-emission fuels, technologies and data, and autonomisation.
The research has found that a key driver for sustainable logistics lies in the adoption of zero-emission fuel for propulsion with battery-electric and hydrogen as the currently most developed types. Main challenges for green fuels lie in large-scale production and distribution, as well as adaptation of new vehicles, vessels and airplanes.
Additionally, enhanced technology and increasingly data driven practices constitute an important driver for sustainability. Currently, the logistics and shipping industries are predominantly analogue. However, Ramboll’s experts foresee a huge potential in digital investment to enable the increase in competitive advantages; harnessing value from deployable data will allow for reductions in fuel usage as well as it will contribute to asset utilization and operational efficiencies.
Autonomisation of vehicles is likewise expected to generate substantial reductions in emissions. Though, the current technological immaturity of vehicles makes it difficult for the industries to apply such change towards sustainable operations, and Ramboll’s experts recommend prioritized attention on fuel and digitalization for the time being.