Reducing the carbon footprint of freight transport
The transportation of goods touches every part of the economy and impacts every person’s life. However, it is also true that transport is responsible for almost 37% of global carbon emissions and heavy trucks alone accounted for 25% of transport emissions in 2020. As the need for climate action becomes increasingly urgent, it is imperative for the road transport sector to explore sustainable and eco-friendly solutions.
Many businesses are determined to move towards becoming carbon neutral. For example, Schneider Electric plans to achieve this goal by 2025. As businesses continue to prioritize decarbonisation, they need expert support to design sustainable freight transport solutions.
In addition to sustainability, other dynamics are driving the shift towards alternatives to road transport. Caps and allowances on carbon emissions and upcoming carbon taxes, are also driving the shift towards more sustainable transportation alternatives. Certain industries, such as the construction, energy and the aviation sectors already have to put a price on their carbon emissions, and more are expected to follow suit. As a result, many companies are already taking this into account when sourcing providers and comparing costs.
For all these reasons, businesses need to find ways to move their goods in a more sustainable manner. This can include optimizing vehicle filling rates, site positioning, and investing in alternative fuels. More recently, the shift towards combinations of road and non-road transport modes has become a critical option to consider.
What is multimodal freight transport?
Multimodal freight transport involves the use of various modes of transportation, such as road, rail, and short sea, to move goods efficiently in a coordinated and integrated way. In a nutshell, these combined solutions deliver four main benefits:
- Multimodal transport makes it possible to provide end-to-end service, from the point of origin to the point of destination.
- The optimal combination of modes can reduce CO2e emissions by up to 90%. In 2022 alone, XPO’s rail-road multimodal solutions in Europe saved 2,792 tonnes of CO2e. A recent trial in the UK has allowed us to cut the greenhouse gas emission of a pallet by up to 79%.
- Multimodal transport increases access to steady capacity, even when truck capacity is tight, by reducing reliance on road freight.
- The use of multiple modes offers more flexibility, especially during peak seasons — for example, by integrating departures during weekends.
How XPO is making a difference
As the President of XPO in Europe, I am proud to say that we are providing customised and sustainable transport and logistics solutions that integrate multimodal end-to-end service.
- Global scale: We provide door-to-service across seven continental corridors and seven short sea connections in Europe and Morocco, and we plan to expand this offering. By operating locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, we can ensure fast and efficient service.
- Customised solutions: We take a consultative approach with shippers to deliver efficient and cost-effective results. For instance, our solutions engineering team will identify volume pooling and counterflow opportunities when designing the optimal solution.
- Multi-sector expertise: From retail and e-commerce, to healthcare, aerospace, automotive, and more, XPO offers a range of services tailored for each industry and end-market.
The future of freight and logistics
Multimodal freight transport is a responsible business decision that can future-proof your supply chain. With options such as rail and short sea, shippers in Europe can reduce carbon emissions and increase supply chain reliability while connecting with key trade areas. This is a win-win situation for shippers, the transport industry and the environment.