1) “Green shipping”—what is it?
“Green shipping” is defined as the effort (process) of minimizing the amount of energy and resources deployed in transporting goods from one location to another with the objective of reducing environmental pollution, offsetting carbon emissions, and preserving the environment.
Green shipping is a holistic concept and is relevant to any part of the shipping process that negatively impacts the planet. As a result, it works across the entire supply chain, from manufacturing methods to fuel types, warehousing, and various modes of freight movement (truck, railway, maritime).
2) Green Shipping: rising trends and best practices
As can be seen from everyday observation, consumers all over the world are now increasingly aware of the impact that companies and their brands have on the environment. They now look to “go green” and embrace a green way of life, green products, and green shipping.
Therefore, even companies that have tried to shirk their green duties thus far are now being forced to adopt such practices; otherwise, they will lose their customers. It really is as simple as that! And that’s the way it should be, too! Importantly, “green-washing,” a method of claiming to follow green methods but only doing so superficially, is being called out by consumers, organizations, and governments alike.
As a result, the supply-side stakeholders—manufacturers, service providers, and retailers—must up their game and truly embrace an environmentally conscious way of operation. Not only is it our moral duty to do so, but it is also a critical source for building customer loyalty and creating brand equity.
Brands and companies now have to ask themselves if they offer convenient green shipping to their customers. Are they fully aware of all that goes into adopting sustainable shipping practices?
3) “Going green” isn’t simply a convenient marketing tool anymore; companies now have to walk the talk.
As mentioned earlier, “green-washing” is now easily seen through; therefore, companies have to ensure they are walking the talk i.e., following procedures that truly eliminate their carbon footprint. Thus, when selecting a shipping partner for your company’s business, make sure to check that your 3PL follows government-accredited policies for carbon reduction.
On their part, shipping companies are upping the ante to convert to green shipping policies to give their customers the most carbon-friendly shipping procedures available. and, as a result, improve customer experience.
- Improving shipping efficiency by streamlining operations and logistics
- Selecting delivery options proactively to reduce carbon footprint
- Optimizing fuel usage and efficiency
- Implementing best practices in efficient driving (for lower fuel usage and better delivery logistics)
- Using alternate energy sources and fuels for transportation
Let’s look at this closely:
- i) Renewable energies are possibly the most effective method of reducing our environmental impact. They emit lesser—even minimal—amounts of carbon into the atmosphere while improving fuel efficiency per trip.
Logistics companies are increasingly using environmentally friendly shipping options, such as ultra-low sulfur diesel and biodiesel. Consignment trucks that operate using compressed natural gas are among the leading ways of green shipping that companies are deploying. Solar panel-driven energy consumption is more accessible and affordable.
- ii) Logistics companies are also replacing legacy fleet vehicles with newer, lighter, and less expensive vehicles that can haul heavier loads, including the increasingly popular option of an e-vehicle, optimizing trip planning, and rethinking load distribution.
iii) Implementing better driving methods to achieve fuel efficiency not only improves logistical efficiency (thereby reducing bottlenecks and lags) but also saves massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. This, in turn, saves huge amounts of operating costs.
Modern, carbon-friendly transport procedures implement new technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption by making their fleet vehicles more energy-efficient.
- iv) Today’s logistics and shipping companies have the great advantage of using modern, automated last mile delivery software. As mentioned above, using such tools reduces routing bottlenecks and inefficiencies; it means lesser amounts of time spent in traffic snarls, congested docks, and inefficient routes.
Such optimization enables full truckloads on singular trucks, thereby reducing the need for multiple trucks, particularly when delivering along the same route or region. Naturally, better routing results in fewer fleet vehicles deployed, lower fuel consumption, lower carbon emissions, and so on. Today’s environmentally conscious consumer is very aware of such efforts and takes all this into consideration when making a purchase decision.
- v) An increasing focus is also placed on maintaining optimal driving practices by fleet drivers. Running fleet vehicles at optimum speed is yet another way to maximize fuel efficiency. Logistics firms are taking steps (such as driver education and training and providing incentives) to help their drivers understand the gravity of the situation and the benefits of adopting such a healthy change.
Other methods of reducing fuel consumption include eliminating prolonged truck idling, automatic tyre inflation technology in combination trucks, and pit-stop electrification. All of this helps to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Changing the layout of 3PL warehouses also helps to reduce energy consumption.
- vi) Maritime shipping transports a large amount of cargo exported and imported into countries. Unfortunately, cargo ships have always been among the most polluting transport vehicles on the planet! Even worse, the majority of their pollution ends up in the ocean, where it has the greatest impact on ocean ecosystems! The extreme damage that oil spills cause is painfully common knowledge.
Therefore, it is necessary that new technology be constantly tested and implemented to make these vessels more energy-efficient and thereby minimize, if not eliminate, the environmental hazards caused by them.
Numerous green initiatives in maritime shipping that have been in development for a while now include modern-day sails to harness wind energy and built-in solar panels. Such options could replace a ship’s fossil fuel usage by up to 20%.
Conclusion: As is evident, it is important for companies to put their best foot forward to rightfully claim that they are environmentally conscious. Not only does this provide customers with confidence in a company’s efforts to cut emissions as best as possible, but adopting such modern, tech-led methods as e-vehicles, delivery software, and contactless deliveries goes a long way in enhancing the customer experience.