Sustainable Logistics: Volume 6

Subject:

Table of contents

(22 chapters)
Content available
Purpose

Logistics as a sector has a key role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in reducing the dependency of our economy on non-renewable energy sources. The challenges are enormous: by 2050 the sector needs to have achieved about 50% lower fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions. If freight volumes grow according to expectations, this requires over 70% less CO2 emissions per unit of transport. This chapter explores the options for reducing CO2 emissions from freight transport and their reduction potential, and analyses whether the logistic sector would be likely to achieve the required reduction based on its intrinsic drive for cost reduction alone.

Methodology/approach

In this conceptual chapter we identify options for sustainable logistics and discuss the necessary economic conditions for their deployment using a simple cost/benefit analysis framework. We distinguish between three regimes of measures for improving sustainability: efficiency measures with net negative costs (‘low hanging fruit’), cost-neutral measures and measures that allow to reach societal targets at net positive costs. Policy measures are discussed that may help the sector to implement cost-effective greenhouse gas abatement measures that, in the absence of incentives, go beyond the point of lowest cost from an end user perspective.

Social implications

Sufficient energy saving options are available to be implemented in the short to medium term, which can lead to operational cost savings with a short return on investments period. The potential contribution of the logistics sector to sustainability is larger, however, as logistics can make large steps ahead in sustainability with cost neutrality or with small cost increases. The full potential has been underrated by many stakeholders and should be explored further.

Originality/value of the chapter

Efficiency measures are a necessary but insufficient condition for sustainable logistics. The industry will need to go beyond cost saving measures, or even cost-neutral measures to reach the long-term energy saving and emission reduction targets for freight transport. We provide a systematic presentation of these options and discuss the additional necessary measures.

Purpose

Long haul freight transport imposes huge negative environmental externalities on society. Although these can never be entirely eliminated, they can be reduced. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse some of the many mitigating measures, or interventions, that can be used.

Methodology/approach

The approach used in this chapter is to review the literature and provide an overview of the main theoretical and practical mitigation measures available to transport operators.

Research limitations

There are literally thousands of possible mitigation measures and combinations that can be used by operators to reduce their environmental footprint. Each of these measures warrants a separate chapter. This chapter can only present an overview of the principle available measures. Although some mainland European examples are used, it is acknowledged that the examples used are somewhat skewed towards the United Kingdom.

Originality/value of the chapter

The value of the chapter is in bringing together some of the many measures and approaches that can be used to reduce the environmental externalities of long haul freight transport. Much of the information on such interventions is based on industrial and EU project sources rather than purely academic research and so is less likely to be found in academic journals.

Purpose

To provide insight into the role and design of delivery services to address CO2, NO x , and PM10 emissions from passenger travel.

Methodology/approach

A simulated North American data sample is served with three transportation structures: last-mile personal vehicles, local-depot-based truck delivery, and regional-warehouse-based truck delivery. CO2, NO x , and PM10 emissions are modeled using values from the US EPA’s MOVES model and are added to an ArcGIS optimization scheme.

Findings

Local-depot-based truck delivery requires the lowest amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and last-mile passenger travel generates the lowest levels of CO2, NO x , and PM10. While last-mile passenger travel requires the highest amount of VMT, the efficiency gains of the delivery services are not large enough to offset the higher pollution rate of the delivery vehicle as compared to personal vehicles.

Practical implications

This research illustrates the clear role delivery structure and logistics have in impacting the CO2, NO x , and PM10 emissions of goods transportation in North America.

Social implications

This research illustrates tension between goals to reduce congestion (via VMT reduction) and CO2, NO x , and PM10 emissions.

Originality/value

This chapter provides additional insight into the role of warehouse location in achieving sustainability targets and provides a novel comparison between delivery and personal travel for criteria pollutants.

Purpose

This study aims to illustrate how retail chains with a green image align sustainable logistics actions, logistics measurements and contracts with logistics service providers (LSPs), and to develop a classification model that allows for a description of the various shades of green within companies.

Design/methodology/approach

We carried out a multiple case study of four retail chains with a green image operating in the Swedish market, collecting empirical data from the retail chains’ sustainability reports and home pages and conducting interviews with logistics, transportation and supply chain managers.

Findings

Based on the literature, we developed a classification model for judging green image, green logistics actions, green measurements and green contracts. The model is used to illustrate the different shades of green found within the respective retail chains. A green image seems well-aligned with green logistics actions. However, there are more levels to judge, and the measurement systems are not sufficiently developed to track green logistics actions. Contract handling is more developed among retail chains than measurements, which is positive, as this is a way of ensuring that LSPs are involved. In our classification model, greenwashing can be judged in a more nuanced way, delving deeper under the surface.

Research limitations/implications

The provided classification model adds to our knowledge and illustrates the alignment within companies’ sustainable logistics. The robustness of the model can be strengthened by applying it to a larger number of cases and by continually validating its content and evaluation criteria.

Practical implications

The study’s main practical contribution is the classification model, which may potentially serve as a method for managers to easily judge the green alignment of a retail chain’s logistics.

Originality/value

Few empirical studies capture how retail chains measure environmental logistics performance, and even fewer concern contracts stipulating the environmental demands placed on LSPs.

Purpose

Urban logistics pooling is seen as a serious alternative to imposed urban consolidation centers. However, such strategies are quite new in urban distribution and merit to be evaluated using adapted methods that take into account the group decision nature of resource pooling. This chapter aims to propose, via an experimental collaborative decision support method, to define a grid of indicators and a reference situation database to measure the sustainable performance of urban logistics pooling systems.

Methodology

The proposed methodology combines a systematic literature analysis of Key Performance Indicators and a group decision support method to choose a suitable set to define a dashboard. First, we identify the main sustainability indicators from an overview of the literature, and class them into the categories of the 4As Sustainable Transport vision (i.e., Awareness, Act and shift, Avoidance, and Anticipation). Then, a group of 20 experts is solicited for an iterative experimental group decision-making method to converge to the concordance of a set of indicators.

Findings

The method allowed us to define a hierarchic dashboard agreed by all experts with seven main indicators and nine secondary indicators. Moreover, the experts signaled the need of defining a unified basis of comparison to estimate initial situations. To do this, we proposed a database of urban routes from the French Surveys on Urban Goods Transport.

Research limitations

The proposed dashboard is an example, and to provide a more unified one, the experience has to be iterated using different groups of decision-makers.

Practical implications

This method has the advantage of proposing a dashboard agreed by all involved stakeholders. Therefore, this chapter shows the patterns to reproduce it since the method is able to be replicated in any context of group decision in urban logistics.

Originality/value

The originality of the chapter arises on the use of an experimental group decision method using a group with a majority of practitioners, and to validate it by consensus.

Purpose

For packed products, packaging affects every logistical activity and thus the overall economic and ecological efficiency (eco-efficiency) of supply chains. The purpose of this research is to explore how integrated approaches are used in packaging development processes to increase eco-efficiency along supply chains and how a set of pre-selected factors influences the adoption of practically integrated approaches within companies.

Methodology/approach

The research approach is explorative and based on nine cases in the food and manufacturing industries in Sweden. In total, 26 semi-structured interviews were conducted.

Findings

The chapter describes the way in which companies work with ‘integrative’ packaging development process elements. It explores how four factors – product characteristics, packaging requirements, logistical conditions and environmental efforts – influence their approach.

Research limitations/implications

The study analyses the packaging development processes at a limited number of companies in Sweden.

Practical implications

The findings can help logistics managers to better understand how integrated approaches can be applied in packaging development processes to increase eco-efficiency of logistical processes along the supply chain. The study provides logistic managers also with information about which influencing factors can serve as facilitators or barriers to these approaches in their organisations.

Originality/value

Previous research has demonstrated the potential economic and environmental benefits of integrating a logistics perspective into the packaging development process. This study complements existing knowledge by presenting extensive empirical data on the practical application of integrated approaches in packaging development processes in industry.

Purpose

This study aims to identify the determinants of transport mode choice and the constraints on shifting freight in New Zealand (NZ) from road to rail and/or coastal shipping, and to quantify the trade-off between factors affecting shippers’ perceptions, to assist in increasing the share of freight moved by non-road transport modes.

Methodology

A revealed preference survey of 183 freight shippers, including small and medium enterprises and freight agents in NZ, is used to investigate whether freight shippers’ characteristics affect their ranked preference for attributes related to mode choice and modal shift. Additionally, a rank-ordered logistic (ROL) model is estimated using the ranking data.

Findings

The results reveal several distinct types of transport mode choice behaviour within the sample and show how the preferences for timeliness, cost, accessibility, damage and loss, customer service, and suitability vary between industry groups and business types. Also, the ROL method allows us to identify heterogeneity in preferences for mode choice and mode shift factors for freight within NZ.

The results imply that NZ shippers ranked transport time as the most significant constraint upon distributing goods by rail, while accessibility and load size were the most significant constraints upon using coastal shipping. The study also identifies how NZ shippers’ modal shift constraints vary according to the firm’s individual or logistical characteristics.

Research implications

This study informs freight transport policy makers about the needs of NZ shippers by providing quantitative measures of the intensity of preference for the various mode choice factors.

Practical implications

Those involved in freight transport have a better basis for formulating transport policy.

Purpose

One of the main difficulties in developing new intermodal transport solutions is finding the right business model. Though business models have received limited attention in the existing intermodal research, several authors have pointed out the importance of business models in the intermodal context.

Existing intermodal literature discusses several types of different business. The current study takes an in-depth look at The Own-Account Model, its strengths and weaknesses through two empirical examples.

The chapter investigates this model by analysing the business model in practice, for example actors, roles and responsibilities, risk distribution and contracts.

Methodology

Research is conducted using a qualitative approach with two case studies. Osterwalder’s (2004) framework for business models is applied to analyse the empirical cases.

Findings

The roles and responsibilities of the actors are described. For the parties to be willing to “invest into” the new intermodal solution, long-term contracts are required. The shipper controls the channel, but has to rely heavily on the transport operators for their expertise and resources.

The analysis has found that the model can be used to avoid many of the difficulties in setting up a new intermodal solution, such as ensuring the base volume or having the overall control over the intermodal chain.

Research implications

Better understanding of this type of business model allows authorities to better support the development of intermodal transport through policy measures. The results obtained also improve the understanding of how intermodal transport is performed in practice.

Purpose

In the last two decades, different policy initiatives have been set up to increase the share of intermodal freight transport through a modal shift. In the design of these policies, often critical break-even distances are set, showing the cost or price competitiveness of intermodal transport to delineate transport routes that qualify for such a modal shift. In this chapter, we discuss to which extent such break-even distances can be generalized on a larger scale and how they are calculated.

Methodology

We use two price-based models to calculate break-even distances for an intermodal rail and an intermodal barge transport case. General break-even values do not show the price variation in the transport market and vagueness in the calculation of these values adds to this problem.

Findings

We find that for the inland waterway case, intermodal barge transport shows potential on shorter distances as well. In addition, different ways to lower the break-even distance are discussed and a framework for calculating break-even distances is suggested.

Research limitations

The research elaborates on break-even distances in a European context using price data which are fluctuating over time, location specific and often not publicly available.

Practical implications

Policy initiatives promoting intermodal transport should not focus solely on long distance transport. Moreover, evaluating the competitiveness of the intermodal sector solely on a price comparison dishonours its true potential.

Originality/value

This chapter challenges the current European policy on intermodal transport by showing the price competitiveness of intermodal transport in two cases.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is first to establish a state of the art about cargo tram, in order to understand its opportunities and constraints. In a second step, the aim is to add an often overlooked spatial dimension in the analysis, which may offer a renewed insight into the issue and extend the understanding of the potential use of urban light rail for freight.

Design/methodology/approach

The first step of the analysis is carried out through a study of the literature. In particular, the potential use of cargo tram for the various urban supply chains is evaluated. The aim is to establish a European state of the art on urban light rail use for freight. Then, to concretise these elements and to add an empirical geographical approach, the Brussels situation is studied in detail.

Findings

This combination of a theoretical analysis and a field approach of the case of Brussels allows us to lead an original study. Obstacles, opportunities and interest for the implementation of cargo trams are specified. In addition, the use of geographical approach gives a new point of view since most of the publications in this field are based on economic or technical approaches.

Practical implications

This study may help public and private actors involved in urban freight matters, as well as public transport companies, to better understand the issues related to cargo trams. In a context where this transport mode is promoted and discussed in a growing number of cities and urban supply chains, it is useful to get an objective synthesis and a prospective analysis on this topic. This research may also have social implications in the way it helps to define a more sustainable urban logistics.

Originality/value

The originality of this research is related to the combination of a theoretical and empirical approach, to the link that is made between urban supply chains and capabilities of cargo trams and finally to the prospective study on the Brussels case. Indeed, because of the novelty of the topic, there are very few studies, either ex-post or ex-ante.

Purpose

Electric freight vehicles (EFVs) are one of the solutions to improve city logistics’ sustainability. EFVs, that are electric powered light and heavy vehicles with a number plate, have the potential to make zero emission city logistics possible within the urban area. However, although trials have been undertaken for the last years, large-scale usage of EFVs in city logistics does not occur yet. EFVs are technically possible, but the implementation of EFVs in practice is relatively limited.

Design

This chapter examines by reviewing current and past EFV implementations, what are the challenges, barriers and success factors for EFVs in city logistics operations. EFVs have especially positive environmental effects, but are overall usually more expensive (especially in procurement) than conventional vehicles. Besides, other technical and operational issues remain to be solved, and many uncertainties still exist on long-term usage.

Findings

Three main barriers for large-scale EFV uptake are identified. The current logistics concepts are developed for conventional vehicles and should be redesigned to fit EFVs better. Local authorities’ support is essential in order to find a positive (or not too negative) business case. And EFV implementation requires companies that want to be sustainable. This contribution presents examples of how some companies or authorities deal with these barriers.

Value

This chapter concludes by identifying elements that are necessary for acceleration of EFV uptake in city logistics operations.

Purpose

In the recent decades, research and industry on city logistics have tried to seek for environment-friendly solutions that are efficient enough to satisfy both society and suppliers’ needs. One of the potential solutions is the use of small-size electric vehicles (SEVs), due to their improved energy efficiency, local zero emissions, and lower traffic disturbance.

In spite of all the benefits of SEV for society, advertised through experimental trials focused on social and environmental benefits, research on these vehicles’ impacts seems to overlook the effects on private stakeholders operations, namely, disregarding the replacement rate needed to assure the same delivery patterns and their purchasing and battery charging implications.

Design

In this chapter, the authors contribute in filling this research gap by considering private interests, related to operation costs levels (running and driving costs), service levels, and efficiency in the promotion of SEV. Simultaneously, its balance with public interests, related with sustainability, quality of life, mobility, and environmental issues are also addressed.

Findings

The authors aim to evaluate the usage of SEV in this research and to estimate the effects of replacing conventional vans by SEV on city logistics operations. The results of this quantitative analysis enlighten if SEVs are indeed a viable solution to satisfy public and private stakeholders, when operational and external costs are fully accounted.

The chapter presents a case study that addresses the effects of replacing vans by SEV on city logistics operations in the city of Oporto (Portugal), considering public and private stakeholders’ interests. The study compares four scenarios of 5%, 10%, 30%, and 70% of SEVs replacing diesel vans used in transport and unloading operations. The four scenarios are tested on different geographical scales: street and city levels. First, the authors estimate how the use of SEV in city logistics affects traffic, energy consumption, and emissions. Second, the respective operating and external costs are quantified and the acquisition and battery issues are discussed.

Originality/value

When considering the goal of promoting SEV as a sustainable city logistics policy, under a methodology focused on mobility, operational performance, and environmental externalities, the authors concluded (a) the replacement rate SEV:van is determinant to make a decision on whether or not to use SEVs replacing vans, (b) SEVs are economically competitive with conventional vans if the replacement rate is 1:1, (c) SEVs have a better performance at the street level rather than at the city level, (d) SEVs can be used with normal traffic as a niche of market (lower than 5%), and (e) SEVs benefits exist, but they are not significant enough to drive suppliers for their adoption.

Index

Pages 317-324
Content available
DOI
10.1108/S2044-994120146
Publication date
2014-12-04
Book series
Transport and Sustainability
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78441-062-9
eISBN
978-1-78441-061-2
Book series ISSN
2044-9941