New report identifies measures to reduce road freight emissions

Technologies that improve the fuel efficiency of heavy goods vehicles have been identified as a fundamental component of decarbonising road freight – and these include aerodynamic retrofits, reduced-rolling resistance of tyres, vehicle weight reduction, increased engine efficiency and hybridisation.

That’s according to a new report - Towards Road Freight Decarbonisation- published today by the International Transport Federation.

Goods transport by road consumes around 50% of all diesel fuel and accounts for 80% of the global net increase in diesel use since 2000, according to the report. Projections see road freight activity at least doubling to 2050, offsetting efficiency gains and increasing road freight CO2 emissions.

For urban freight operations, alternative fuels already provide a viable commercial solution, or shortly will, says to the report. “Policy should foster measures such as the adoption of alternative fuels for urban logistics operations through pricing mechanisms and other incentives, stricter emission standards, zero emissions zones, recharging infrastructure and policies geared towards adoption of alternative fuels by large fleets.”

Some of the suggested examples of ‘low hanging fruit’ include eco-driving training and fewer restrictions on truck length and weight to maximise efficiencies from the introduction of high capacity vehicles (HCVs) on certain corridors.

The report points out that logistics companies have wide discretion over their operating mode and supply chains, and therefore need to play a leading role in decarbonising road freight. “Firms have a self-interest in improving operational performance to cut costs. Fleet owners, shippers, retailers, hauliers and other stakeholders will only invest in these improvements, however, if the return rate, the payback periods and the risk level are attractive enough. In order to change behaviours in the industry it is necessary to make the business case for new logistical practices as well as pointing out their wider societal benefits.”

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