Low Carbon Fuel Alternatives for Freight Industry

A New Report on Sustainability Made Available for Logistics Managers

Here at Action Transport, Inc., we recognize that working in an industry linked with large-scale fossil fuel use puts us at the forefront of today’s challenges. How does economic growth continue with finite resources? How will the transporting of freight look in ten years? Fifteen years? Thirty years? And who’s responsible for leading us to this sustainable energy future anyway?

Recently, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) tackled these issues when it presented its report, “Transitioning to Low-Carbon Fuel: A Business Guide for Sustainable Trucking in North America.”

The report is geared towards fleet operators, energy producers, vehicle manufacturers, retailers moving freight and investors, so that practical strategies can be developed to help the transition to low-carbon fuels. This also includes ways to improve the sustainability impact of all fuels. Edward Cameron, the director of research, stated his intention to “advance dialogue and understanding about our shared challenges.”

Addressed in the guide are five of these key challenges that have prevented the success of adopting low-carbon fuel.

  • The fuel marketplace is undergoing profound changes. The future mix of available fuels and vehicles is uncertain, and the most cost-effective sources of emissions reductions are diverse and changing.
  • Sustainable fuels aren’t scalable yet. The marketplace lacks cost-effective and large-scale alternatives to conventional, high-carbon, petroleum-based diesel. There’s also a lack of infrastructure and vehicle-maintenance equipment to support these fuels and it takes time to rotate new technologies into fleets even when new fuels become attractive.
  • There are other sustainability issues that involve variability between fuel types as well as within the same type, such as Canadian oil sands versus heavy crude from Venezuela.
  • Sustainability standards are underdeveloped. Fleet managers can’t fully understand and manage the lifecycle impacts of fuels because there are no accepted protocols for associating fuels with their full range of lifecycle impacts. Also, with current fuel systems, it’s pretty much impossible to track the sources of those fuels.
  • Key stakeholders disagree about the path to progress.

The way to address these challenges is for fleet managers to take a holistic approach to fuel sustainability. The guide offers four steps that trucking companies and companies with large truck fleets can put into practice.

  1. Understand your total fuel footprint. Measure and characterize the size of your company’s fuel-related impacts and the relative significance of fuel versus the other sustainability impacts of your company’s operations.
  2. Optimize your use of available fuel and vehicles. Maximize commitments and investments that profitably support the use of low-carbon fuel in the context of the options that are available today.
  3. Collaborate to support new low-carbon solutions. Play a constructive role in driving long-term, systemic improvements in the sustainability of the fuel value chain.
  4. Advocate for a better policy environment. Work with governments and other stakeholders to promote policies that support more ambitious, effective deployment of low-carbon, sustainable fuel pathways.

This is just a start, a way to get a toehold in what could otherwise be a precarious future if not addressed. Attending to these issues and transitioning to low-carbon fuel isn’t something that happens over night, as we all know. But good decisions made today wards off bad outcomes tomorrow. A sound practice that anyone with good business sense can get behind.

Action Transport, Inc. has been helping small and large businesses alike improve the way they ship freight for over forty years. We offer the lowest rates and match them with the best customer service. Contact us today for a real-time freight quote and lets get you moving!