Supply Chain Logistics
Strategies for Cleaner Freight
There are many opportunities for companies to choose cleaner, more efficient options for goods movement. Many of these are listed below. EDF welcomes suggested additions to this list. Please let us know if there are other strategies that have been helpful in your company’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of goods movement.
Track your company’s freight emissions
- Track how your company’s annual ton-miles of freight moved has changed over time.
- Calculate emissions baselines for greenhouse gases and other criteria pollutants.
- Benchmark your emissions against peer companies.
Streamline your company’s freight decision-making process
- Encourage all decision-makers to coordinate their efforts to increase freight efficiency.
- Create an administrative role with mandate to increase sustainability in logistics and transportation.
- Set aggressive yet achievable goals for freight efficiency improvements over time.
Choose freight mode with lowest environmental impact for your needs
- Select the lowest carbon-emitting mode for your product and schedule.
- Select the lowest carbon-emitting mode carrier servicing the route.
- Avoid air freight when possible as it contributes by far the most greenhouse gas emissions per unit of any freight mode.
- Consider using barges instead of trucks for carrying low-value or heavy bulk commodities.
- Follow the best practices associated with each chosen mode of transport—whether by truck, ship or rail.
Expect efficiency from your on-road carriers
- Set environmental performance expectations for the fleets you hire.
- Give preference to EPA SmartWay certified carriers.
- Encourage carriers to maximize truckloads and reduce empty return miles traveled.
Expect efficiency from your ocean-going vessel carriers
- Seek out carriers that disclose their environmental performance and mitigation efforts.
- Select slower speed options when transporting goods with flexible timetables for shipping.
- Give preference to carriers that regularly maintain their ships, have retrofitted their engines to meet current standards, and utilize fuel efficiency maximizing technologies.
- Encourage carriers to control their emissions at dock by employing shore-side powering.
Expect efficiency from your rail providers
- Seek out rail providers that integrate their operations efficiently with your multi-modal logistics strategy.
- Ask your rail provider whether they maintain an emissions inventory.
- Give preference to providers with lowest criteria pollutant emissions per mile.
- Encourage providers to switch to ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) to reduce sulfur and particulate emissions.
- Encourage providers to monitor and reduce the idling times of their trains.