Efficient food logistics to reduce the climate impact of transportation: A shipper’s perspective
Licentiate thesis, 2014
Transportation activities are often highlighted for their climate impact, and one industry that has a significant impact is the food industry. However, reducing the climate impact of transporting food products can be difficult due to the various characteristics of such products, for example temperature regime. These characteristics also influence shippers’ ability to create efficient logistics systems. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to understand the role of food characteristics for efficient logistics in order to enable shippers of food products to reduce the climate impact of transportation.
The thesis is a compilation of three papers: (1) a literature review of food logistics in order to study how food aspects have been considered within logistics literature; (2) an interview study to identify links between food characteristics and logistics systems; and (3) a case study to create a framework for reducing the climate impact of transportation by considering food characteristics. To stress the importance of creating frameworks that can be adjusted to the wide range of food characteristics, the findings are analysed with the help of fundamental assumptions of contingency theory.
In combination, the three papers constitute a framework for the link between food characteristics and climate impact of transportation. First, the framework identifies nine food characteristics and describes links between these characteristics and logistics performance variables. Second, the framework describes how to identify product flow characteristics (including food characteristics) for shipments and analyses how these product flow characteristics influence variables for reducing the climate impact. Finally, to guide shippers to make efficient decisions to reduce the climate impact of transportation, this study demonstrates how shipments can be categorised with the help of a portfolio approach.
The thesis explains how to consider the context, both in terms of the physical products and the physical flows, when creating efficient food logistics for reducing the climate impact of transportation. For shippers of food products, the findings of this thesis can be applied to problematising the challenge of transporting a wide variety of products with different food characteristics.
climate impact of transportation