How to Reduce Carbon Footprint in Logistics

How to Track Carbon Footprint in Logistics

Transportation carbon emissions are a threat to the planet, and left unchecked, they have the potential to cause vast devastation and limit the abilities of humanity to thrive. That leaves many organizations researching how to reduce carbon footprint in logistics. As a result, awareness of carbon footprint in logistics has risen in recent years. 

As social media has grown and politics have evolved, ESG initiatives have become more commonplace. Accordingly, more supply chain leaders are rethinking their efforts and working to track and reduce such emissions through the use of dynamic optimization and predictive analytics. 

Looking at the evidence of carbon emissions deriving from shipping in recent years, Jonathan Saul of Reuters explained, “Carbon emissions from shipping rose in the six-year period to 2018 and accounted for 2.89% of the world’s CO2. … shipping’s share of global CO2 emissions increased to 2.89% in 2018 from 2.76% in 2012, when the last study period ended. CO2 emissions grew to 1,056 million tonnes in 2018 versus 962 million tonnes in 2012, the study showed.” 

Most importantly, this is pre-COVID data, and there’s expected to be a slight reduction in 2022 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Supply chain leaders must not overlook the importance of continuing to track and reduce total logistics carbon footprint by transport type. For that reason, it’s important to follow a few steps, including technology integration and data-backed optimization and rerouting, to both track your supply chain’s carbon emissions and to bring them under control.

Connect Your Supply Chain Tech Stack With an Omnimodal TMS

The best way to start to track transportation carbon footprint in logistics is by leveraging the power of an integrated supply chain systems tech stack. 

Connections between systems provide a complete view of total carbon emissions by transport type, where missed opportunities for carbon reductions lie (such as in deadhead), and ways to avoid unnecessary moves. 

In other words, connected systems help to maximize cargo space, avoid wasted empty or partially empty moves, and promote proactive planning to avoid waste. It’s the ability to take action early in shipment execution that leads to meaningful reductions in carbon emissions.

Reduce Your Risk of Excess Dwell and Idle Time

The next step for reducing carbon output comes from improved efficiency in loading and wait times. Rather than having trucks run idle and spend excess time waiting to load or unload, shippers that can hasten the flow on the dock and in the yard will lead to move drive time. Thus, total emissions created will decline.

Leverage Intermodal and Multimodal Transit

Putting more fuel-efficient means of transport, such as intermodal and multimodal transportation, to work can further your sustainability and transportation carbon emission reduction goals.

Intermodal, particularly when using rail, is the most fuel-efficient means of transportation. However, rail transport requires advanced planning and regular expectations for shipping transit time and more. Thus, it comes down to visualizing the full shipment lifecycle. Additionally, that action is necessary within multimodal transit too, knowing when to switch trucks or carriers to create the most fuel-efficient use of fleet assets regardless of current mode.

Use KPIs to Monitor Carbon Footprint in Logistics and Potential for Carbon Offsets

Another critical step in reducing total carbon emissions is using data to derive meaningful travel reductions. In other words, data can enable optimization for both shippers and carriers, reducing wasted miles, space and fuel. Thus, it amounts to fewer total emissions. 

As noted by FleetOwner, “Fleets are now leveraging critical data, analytics and innovative programs through procurement strategies and life cycle cost management (LCCM) for their Class 8 truck fleets. Implementing an asset management strategy based on shorter vehicle life cycles conserves fuel, reduces emissions, lowers maintenance costs, provides a cleaner environment, and is more economically sustainable.” 

While that article speaks primarily to carriers, shippers also have opportunities to use the same technology to track and reduce carbon emissions that go beyond their initial scope, regardless of mode, including drayage, intermodal, final mile, long-haul and more.

Unified Supply Chain Software is how to Reduce Carbon Footprint in Logistics

Carbon emissions may seem inevitable, but the reality of the modern supply chain is one of increased efficiency, more technology in everyday processes, and ongoing optimization efforts. 

Together, this reality helps shippers keep an eye on total carbon emissions, promotes more efficiency among carriers, and lessens the overall impact and cost of the supply chain. That begins with a comprehensive, global-ready transportation management system (TMS) like MercuryGate that works across all modes, all locations and all shipper types. 

Check out a MercuryGate demo to learn how your team can begin optimization efforts to lower your carbon footprint.

Learn how your team can begin optimization efforts to lower your carbon footprint.


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