Reduce the environmental impact of the transportation of its goods

Published on 1 February 2022

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Transport

Yet the road freight transport sector is vital and needs to reinvent itself because of its ever-increasing environmental impact. It is in this sense that an information report, regrouping 40 proposals, has been presented to the Senate. But even if they depend on the adoption or not of these measures, carriers can already act, especially by optimizing their transport management with a TMS. Explanations.

Road freight transport: ever more polluting

As highlighted in an information report presented to the Senate in May 2021, the freight transport sector is essential to the life of the country. In addition to enabling companies and public services to function, through the transport of numerous products, it is a vital economic resource for France. As proof, transport and its logistics represent 10% of the national GDP and 1.8 million jobs. This importance seems to be growing: despite a slowdown due to the health crisis, the sector should grow by 40% by 2050.
 
Nevertheless, road transport accounts for 90% of domestic freight transport in France. This domination is at the expense of rail and waterways, two transport modes that have been steadily declining over the years. The report shows that rail accounts for only 9% of freight transport in France, half the EU average, while the share of river transport is anecdotal.

 

+ 6 %
This is the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from freight transport since 20151.

 

While the predominance of road transport has several causes (poor condition of rail and river networks, lower cost, greater flexibility, etc.), it has one primary consequence: environmental pollution. For example, heavy goods vehicles alone are responsible for 23% of the transport sector's greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. more than 7% of all national emissions.1

 

40 proposals to rethink freight transport

Although efforts have already been made to move the yardsticks, as the project's rapporteurs point out, reducing the environmental footprint of road freight transport is an urgent objective. To achieve this goal, Senators Nicole Bonnefoy and Rémy Pointereau have drawn up a list of 40 proposals, aimed at taking action in the more or less long term, grouped into four main themes.

  • Diversifying modes of transport: the report recommends first of all strengthening the complementarity of the various modes of transport and developing the use of rail and waterways. To achieve this, several avenues are envisaged, such as the renovation of rail and river networks, the greening of trains and ships, and the inclusion of the modes of transport used by operators in public contracts.

  • Limiting the nuisance caused by road transport: simplifying the issuing of bans on heavy goods vehicles, creating zones with traffic restrictions, reinforcing controls and penalties, better informing local elected officials about the regulatory arsenal available to them... these are all proposals that have been put forward with a view to fighting more effectively against all sources of nuisance (pollution, noise, traffic congestion, accidentology, etc.)

  • Adopt a decarbonization strategy: in view of the sector's reluctance to limit its energy consumption and environmental impact, the report recommends that a roadmap for the transition of the heavy vehicle fleet be drawn up quickly. At the same time, the project's rapporteurs propose to develop aid for biofuels and electrification (ecological bonus, conversion premium, etc.), to modify the current tax system (abolition of the TICPE refund, creation of an ecotax, etc.) or to encourage good practices (ban on overtaking on four-lane roads, for example).

  • Reinventing urban freight transport: in addition to its other ills (noise, accidents, etc.), freight is responsible for a third of urban air pollution1. To remedy this, the report recommends strengthening the control of delivery vehicles (technical inspection, compulsory training, etc.), encouraging the purchase of clean utility vehicles (via a tax rebate, for example), pooling last-mile deliveries and raising consumer awareness of the environmental issues involved in delivery (banning advertising for free delivery, displaying the carbon footprint of delivery solutions, etc.).

 

87.1% of consumers say that their choice of delivery options could be influenced if they were aware of their respective environmental impacts.1

 

The TMS, an essential tool for reducing your carbon footprint

The possible entry into force of some of these proposals could considerably disrupt the activity of transport and logistics players. It is therefore in the best interest of companies to address the issue head-on now. The first step is to optimize their entire supply chain by adopting a TMS (Transport Management System).
 

Like Generix's TMS for shippers, this software solution enables to act on the carbon footprint of transport operations and, thus, to engage in an eco-responsible approach. How can you do this? By guaranteeing several essential features:

  • Measuring environmental impact: the implementation of a TMS first of all makes it possible to measure the environmental footprint of the transport function, in particular through better knowledge of the activity. This information not only allows you to act accordingly, but also to offer more visibility on the subject to customers.

  • optimizing routes: thanks to better management of chartering and deliveries, the TMS makes it possible to reduce the number of kilometers traveled and increase the loading rate. These are two essential levers for taking concrete action on the environmental cost of goods transport.

  • Predictive simulation: the TMS allows you to simulate different scenarios, such as the modification of a part of the activity or the implementation of a new regulation for example. In this way, you can anticipate and measure the impact of such or such measures. The company can thus engage in a real strategy to reduce its carbon footprint, with a perfect knowledge of the benefits it will derive from it.

 

1 Freight transport in the face of environmental imperatives - Senate - 2021