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3 Effective ways to reduce your transport company’s environmental impact

Diana Albertyn, 28 June 2017

Cargo Carriers claims to scrupulously observe the highest standards in environmental best practice. Why? They say it is to benefit their clients, the industry and the country.

Only a minority of transport companies across the world are currently investing in low-carbon initiatives. Despite this, major players in every industry want a logistics provider that will commit to reducing its carbon footprint while still meeting the highest health, safety and quality standards.

As the manager of a large fleet of long-haul trucks that spends a lot of time on the road between coastlines, you’re under constant pressure to reduce both carbon emissions and the general environmental impact of your vehicles. But your trucks are older, thirstier and in need of replacement. You need to upgrade your entire fleet but don’t have the cash to do so. What do you do?

Take note

"Carbon offsetting has its place where business and economic reasons make it difficult to reduce your footprint further," says Mike Capper, business development manager at BP Target Neutral. This is done by calculating the carbon dioxide produced based on the amount of fuel bought.

Here are some of the ways that running a more efficient fleet will help your business:


1. Why you need to be running an efficient fleet

Have you heard of a carbon offsetting scheme? This is where you ‘offset’ your business’ carbon footprint by trading carbon credits. These credits are used in projects and schemes to support the environment and capture carbon, such as planting trees.

Waste management company Grundon started monitoring the carbon footprint of their whole business to better understand their environmental impact. Within 13 years, they’d managed to cut their emissions by 78%. But according to Toni Robinson, compliance manager at the company, “You reach a point where the easy wins are no longer there—that’s where offsetting came in. The area with one of the most visible impacts to our customers was our fleet.”

Grundon’s credits are put towards a tree planting scheme in Uganda. So far, more than 4.5 million trees have been planted, reducing soil erosion and improving the habitat for local wildlife. You can do the same on a local level by contributing to a tree-planting scheme or starting your own initiative altogether.

2. How to better manage your environmental impact

  • Implement tyre pressure monitoring

Using a tyre pressure monitoring system will ensure that your tyres are always at the proper operating inflation pressure. This will not only extend their life but also improve your fuel economy.

  • Use an advanced routing system

An advanced routing system will help your drivers find the optimal routes to their destinations. This will save fuel by reducing the number of kilometres travelled, which can eliminate up to 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Adopt new technology

Platooning allows trucks to travel in very close convoy, reducing aerodynamic drag and generating 4.5% fuel savings for the lead truck and 10% for the follow truck. This technology synchronises braking and acceleration between pairs of trucks through the integration of vehicle-to-vehicle communications and state-of-the-art, radar-based collision avoidance systems. This lets modern trucks from Volvo and Scania travel safely at speed, despite maintaining close following distances.

3. How other transporters are stepping up

While South Africa’s contribution to the world’s annual carbon emissions is a little over 1%, at least 13% of those emissions come from the transport sector.

When Cargo Carriers commissioned the Global Carbon Exchange (CGX) to conduct an analysis on its carbon footprint, they found out that the truck fleet wasn’t the only carbon emissions culprit. “Electricity usage [on site] was our largest contributor to carbon emissions, so the next depot we built was entirely solar-powered—a South African first,” says Cargo Carriers.

In another first, Cargo Carriers is also the first local logistics and supply chain company to introduce an eco-friendly Euro IV fleet, helping it reduce its carbon emissions by more than 12%.

“Our reduced carbon footprint is underpinned by efficient utilisation of fuel through ongoing fleet maintenance, conscious and concerted efforts to reduce water and electricity consumption and continued compliance with international standards to ensure minimal impact on the environment in which we operate,” the company proclaims. Maybe it’s time you tried running your fleet a little differently?

Key takeaway

Even when business and economic reasons make it difficult to further reduce your footprint, there are still ways to make a difference. Consistent monitoring of your fleet means well-maintained trucks; carbon offsetting saves you fuel and looking at new technology helps you plan for the future.