Swedish trial cuts haulage emissions by 30 per cent

Published: 29 January 2014

Swedish trial cuts haulage emissions by 30 per cent

A recent project in the Swedish city of Gothenburg has seen haulage trucks reduce their carbon emissions by utilizing more carbon efficient fuel technology.

Over a period of three years, 400 distribution trucks were able to reduce their emissions by an average of 30 per cent by swapping conventional diesel for more biodiesel, biogas, DME, hybrid technology and methane diesel fuel.

The project also explored ways to improve logistics systems in order for more efficient utilization of existing vehicles. Haulers moved delivery times outside of peak traffic times and opened up bus lanes to distribution traffic, allowing fuel consumption to be reduced.

Some firms have seen their emissions fall to a whopping 80 per cent. Volvo, who is participating in the project, wants to build on the success to encourage other countries to follow suit:

“We want to help develop tomorrow’s cities and are actively looking for partnerships where we can contribute our expertise and experience,” said Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director Volvo Trucks.

“The road ahead is via closer co-operation between different players and here we definitely have a role to play, both locally and globally,” says Environmental Director of Volvo Trucks, Lars Mårtensson.

Earlier this year Volvo unveiled plug-in hybrid buses, again in Gothenburg, which reduced fuel consumption by at least 75 per cent compared with traditional diesel buses.

"In order to fully exploit the available potential, it's not enough for haulage companies to improve their logistics systems; it's equally important that transport purchasers become better at coordinating their purchases, and here there is a whole lot of room for improvement.

"The most difficult challenge, however, was not to develop new fuels or new vehicle technology, but to improve the efficiency of our transport operations," added Mr. Mårtensson.

Within Gothenburg, over 6,500 companies use daily distribution and freight services, which provide a huge opportunity to improve carbon emissions. In the U.K., freight transport accounts for around 20 per cent of total transport GHG emissions and 4 per cent of all the country’s emissions, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

The road haulage industry has benefited from a number of recent developments which have enabled operators to reduce their carbon emissions. In the past, approximately 25 per cent of trucks, HGVs and couriers returned from their drop-offs empty, with another 50 per cent of vehicles only half full; a huge waste of fuel, generating thousands of tonnes of unnecessary carbon emissions.

Online freight exchange services like Returnloads.net now allow firms to share their available drivers and loads online, providing opportunities to fill empty vehicles quickly and effectively. This reduces the number of vehicles on our roads and cuts emissions drastically.

The majority of haulage firms also now adopt Safe and Efficient Driving (SAFED) practices, allowing drivers to maximize the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, with regular performance reviews and opportunities for further training. For example, by altering their driving style, drivers can improve their MPG performance by up to 10 per cent.

Digital technology is also enabling haulers to maximize their scheduling of jobs and optimize vehicle capacity through the latest route planning and GPS technology. By regularly updating fleets with the most fuel efficient engines, while ensuring that vehicles are maintained, hauler can reduce emissions further.

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