Whether it’s a trailer, a container or a boxcar, better capacity utilization reduces the number of required freight runs and reduces truck emissions.
Despite the fact that most logistic professionals understand the value of building fuller truck-loads, recent research showed that 15–25 percent of U.S. trucks on the road are empty and, for non-empty miles, trailers are 36 percent underutilized.
Capturing just half of this under-utilized capacity would cut freight truck emissions by 100 million
tons per year – about 20 percent of all U.S. freight emissions – and reduce expenditures on diesel fuel by more than $30 billion a year (CELDi Physical Internet Project).
Nearly every company can improve trailer capacity utilization. Here are some real-life examples:
Kraft Foods: Because of the variety of products either cubing-out trailers (reaching the volume limit) or weighing-out trailers (reaching the truck weight limit), Kraft’s refrigerated outbound shipments were averaging only 82 percent of weight capacity. Kraft used specialized software to convert demand into optimized orders to maximize truck usage without damaging products. As a result, Kraft cut 6.2 million truck miles and reduced truck-load costs by 4 percent.
Walmart: The world’s largest retailer was able to increase the number of pallets shipped in a truck from 26 to 30 simply by side loading pallets.
Stonyfield Farms: This dairy product manufacturer worked with its clients to help them decrease the use of dunnage (inexpensive or waste material used to protect cargo during transportation), allowing the company to maximize the available space per trailer.
What’s your load factor on outbound trailers?
To improve trailer capacity utilization as well as source other ideas to create a more sustainable freight operation, download EDF’s free Green Freight Handbook.
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