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The greener the better

Author: Stephan Schablinski

Published On: 2015-08-26

Source: ITJ, International Transport Journal

http://www.transportjournal.com/en/home/regional-focus/artikeldetail/the-greener-the-better.html


The greener the better

Climate change has an impact on us all – but six of the world’s most affected countries are in Asia. At the same time, the transport of goods by truck is responsible for more than half of the carbon dioxide road vehicles emit in those countries. In view of these facts the not-for-profit organisation Green Freight Asia has introduced a new environmental standard for the transport of goods by road.

 

The contrast is striking. Although trucks account for only 9% of all vehicles on the roads in the Asia-Pacific region, they are responsible for more than half of all of the CO2 emissions generated by road traffic in this part of the world (54%).

 

This is all the more disturbing if one considers the fact that six of the ten countries that feel the effects of climate change most severely are in Asia. This was the main driving force for the establishment of an industry network called Green Freight Asia (GFA), whose objective is to improve the ecological impact of road freight transport.

 

Ready to go

The green standard has been open to the public since the end of March. ­Carriers and shippers in the Asia-Pacific region can now log on to the GFA data base to locate a green haulage company to carry their freight. The body selects firms on the basis of their environment-­friendly business policies, with the aim of providing a direct stimulus for sustainable services.

 

«We are convinced that the introduction of our label will be a catalyst for change,» is the confident view of Stephan Schablinski, CEO of Green Freight Asia. «We not only contribute to improving individual companies and the environment, but also work towards enhancing the overall public image of the transport and logistics industry.»

 

Image is (almost) everything

With this statement Schablinski ­addresses an important issue, for the public image of the transport and logistics industry still leaves a good deal of room for improvement. Furthermore, the expectation that the adoption of greener transport ­processes will enhance a company’s ­efficiency, at the same time as making it more attractive for potential customers, is also likely to be a major motivating factor.

 

There is a great potential to ­redu­ce costs, as outlays on logistics amount to between 15 and 25% of GDP in Asia – a figure that is in stark contrast to the USA and Europe, where it amounts to around 10%. Freight transport’s share thereof comes to around 35 to 60%, and is thus a major factor for high costs.

 

In this respect there was already a strong motivation in the past for greater awareness of environmental aspects, but projects were often defeated by the fact that green business practices were relatively difficult to justify commercially. One of the reasons for this is that competitors that do not operate along green lines are frequently able to tip the balance in their favour simply by quoting lower prices. This decision is in the hands of a shipper. It is ultimately the companies that decide to whom they will award their contracts – and this is what GFA is counting on.

 

Appropriate parameters identified?

Last year the not-for-profit organisation, which is headquartered in the Southeast Asian city state of Singapore, carried out a test run with a series of applications for the GFA label. The aim was to see whether it had identified the appropriate parameters and processes for the determination of the standard.

 

The criteria include engines’ compa­ti­bility with the environment, the kind of fuel that is used, the freight volume transported as well as the distance travelled. Applications were received from a total of 48 candidates, and more than 60% of these were awarded the GFA label – including submissions from firms such as Heineken, Ikea, DHL, Hewlett-Packard, Infineon and UPS.   

 

Participating countries

Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (inclu­ding Hong Kong), India, Japan, ­Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

Some of the participating firms

Heineken, HP, Ikea, Infineon, Lenovo, Ant Logistics, DHL, UPS, Sailing Logistic, Guoxing Logistics, Qingdao Guangyunda, RichLand Logistics, APLL, Shanghai FuYing, Sunjex ­Logistic and Tiong Nam.

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