Creating an energy-efficient supply chain is only possible if you understand its overall carbon footprint. Certainly, there are huge opportunities within the industrial supply chain for reductions in CO2 emissions – particularly on the ‘Final Mile’ - to meet stringent regulations and streamline costs. A 3PL or 4PL partner who is committed to researching and developing green innovation is best placed to find long-term solutions across the entire supply chain. Recent research into smart tracking and accurate reporting undertaken by Yusen clearly indicates that it is possible to improve the sustainability of supply chain solutions of any complexity.
The Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) recently reported that transport emissions account for 22% of greenhouse gasses worldwide. Yusen look for innovation to better understand, report and reduce CO2 emissions for our partners.
Our recent work with Cardiff Business School has seen us enhance our reporting service on carbon emissions in pharmaceuticals distribution.
Original research performed by the young graduates from the Business School enabled Yusen Logistics to estimate CO2 emissions on the final mile deliveries - a challenging task almost universally omitted from any CO2 reporting in Logistics due to its high complexity.
Calculating CO2 Emissions for the Final Mile
The topic of the ‘Final Mile’ in the emissions evaluation has been researched extensively by many prolific scientists in recent years, but almost all research is related to general public or consumer logistics. For example, a notion of ‘shopping miles’ is linked to the rise of online purchasing and home deliveries as opposed to traditional car trips to the shopping centres.
At the same time, understanding CO2 emissions for B2B supply chain solutions has been limited by basic carbon calculators. These tools estimate emissions from different transport modes in sequential distribution legs - A to B via C – to give simple calculations on CO2 visibility for only the main (line haul) legs of any supply chain.
That means, that if a given carrier's responsibility starts and ends on a particular leg this reporting is sufficient. However, Yusen prides itself on the strength of its end-to-end shipment visibility – which also introduces added complexity for reporting. As a 4PL managing a multitude of carriers within several supply chains, Yusen tackles a complicated grey area of final mile deliveries from market child hubs to the final customer.
Challenging CO2 Emission Calculations
As it stands, the biggest obstacle in reaching this target is the sheer scale of operations.
Yusen distributed more than 2.3 million pallets and parcels as part of their pharmaceutical logistics services in the past 12 months, controlling every single delivery remotely. Yusen’s In-Market Carrier Manager, Iwona Lichtarska, gave context to this:
"Collecting and analysing such a huge amount of data is a very laborious task and requires considerable resources. However, Yusen prides itself in its customer-centric logistics and when it comes to sustainability there can be no excuses – a solution had to be found. That is why the decision has been made to split the task into distinctive markets."
This innovative approach allowed Yusen and the Cardiff team to concentrate on the specifics of each area and tackle the challenge holistically without spreading the effort too thin. After six months' research it became possible to provide customers with end-to-end CO2 estimations for their UK supply chain solutions, namely from factory-floor to the final customer.
Putting Insight into Action
Quite surprisingly, results found that last mile emissions in the UK represent anything between 200-250% of the line haul leg emissions.
That means that Yusen’s emissions estimations and relevant action plans will be updated and re-evaluated to reflect this new industry-leading research of true CO2 values. More development is planned to perfect the results and open up new European markets to such comprehensive reporting.
Ultimately, the project will update existing emissions calculators with the new last mile logistics module. That way, Yusen will deliver supply chain solutions that are cost-effective, sustainable, and nothing short of ground-breaking in CO2 reporting.