Using Multimodal Shipping Optimization to Manage Your Carbon Footprint

Using Multimodal Shipping Optimization to Manage Your Carbon Footprint

As April showers return, logistics professionals need to start thinking about their impact on the environment. The 51st Annual Earth Day is April 22, 2021, and with all the excitement over a return to normalcy and restoration of the economy as the vaccination rate for COVID-19 increases, it’s easy to lose sight of environmentally friendly shipping. Fortunately, today’s logistics professionals can apply technology in new ways to reduce their total emissions and manage the carbon footprint more effectively. But it comes with some concern over what types of technologies can make that possible and how those technologies will add to total transportation spend.

Why Fast, Free Shipping Comes With a Higher Carbon Footprint

In today’s world, the standard of e-commerce prescribes fast, free shipping. Both Amazon and Walmart have taken steps to instill this basic principle in today’s shoppers. Unfortunately, fast, free shipping is not environmentally sound when applied to diverse locations and wide geographies that are associated with e-commerce. As noted by CNN Business, “grocery delivery can cut between 80% and 90% of carbon emissions, for example, compared to consumers going to pick up their items on their own. However, that calculation changes significantly if items are coming from further away and have to be sent immediately, which creates fewer opportunities for lumping deliveries together.” As the distance of the shipment expands, speed becomes less fuel-efficient and results in added costs to the supply chain and the environment.

Multimodal Shipping Optimization Makes the Best Use of Assets, Including Cost-Effective Forms of Transportation

A fundamental distinction of environmentally sound shipping is its ability to leverage different modes to reduce total emissions. While some variations exist between exact fuel efficiency ratings, the most effective forms of transport use rail. Effective multimodal shipping demands the capability to know how to consolidate freight and when to move between modes. That is what comprises multimodal shipping optimization and helps companies make the best use of assets. As a result, shippers and LSPs can reduce their emissions and manage their carbon footprint proactively.

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Best Practices to Leveraging Multimodal Shipping to Reduce Emissions

Any strategy for reducing carbon emissions within transportation should follow a few best practices, including:

Deploy an Eco-Friendly TMS That Enables Meaningful Multimodal Optimization

Of all the steps enterprises can take to improve their carbon footprint, the best must make the most meaningful use of available technology today. Almost every transportation management system (TMS) offers some form of route optimization. The distinction between the best-in-class systems and those that may not offer additional ways to reduce emissions exists within how well an organization can enable multimodal shipping optimization from the first step through the last mile. MercuryGate’s TMS has that capability within its advanced optimizer.

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Phil Melton
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