Improving energy efficiency in supply chains: The case of over-capacity in road freight transportation
Conference contribution, 2016
Extensive use of fossil fuel to power logistics operations has direct impact on greenhouse gas
emissions. Energy-consuming operations in the logistics system need further investigation in
order to reduce this negative impact. One promising pathway is over-capacity in the logistics
system which has to be identified and ways of how this excessive capacity can be used have to
be developed (Wehner et al., 2015). Further, a behavioural change from customers as well as
logistics service providers is needed because technical innovations alone are not sufficient to
reach this level of energy efficiency (Chapman, 2007). By focusing on freight transport as a
key of ‘supply chain execution’, the purpose of this empirical study is twofold: (1) To identify
unused potential in road freight transportation; (2) To present ways by which over-capacity in
the supply chain can be utilised in order to release this potential.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted, complemented by secondary evidence and a
literature review. The sample consists of customers and providers of logistics services, as well
as providers for information and communications technology (ICT) in logistics and consultants
in energy. The interviews addressed categories developed from the literature review. The
categories used are: Energy consumption, energy efficiency, over-capacity, collaboration, the
logistics system, consumer influence, e-commerce as well as new and shared economy. The
interview guide was adapted to the particular interviewee, his or her work task, the company’s
sector and challenges.
The analysis of the interviews was twofold: (1) Studying what perception of over-capacity the
actors and experts within the field have; (2) Identifying the cause of over-capacity together with
the experts in regard to road freight transportation chains into and in the urban area.
The secondary evidence included public accessible information from websites in regard to
transportation and other supply chain activities. Furthermore, a comparison of e-commerce
delivery and return services of eleven different retailers was conducted.
The literature review focused on the logistics-energy domain. The review followed three search
strategies: Keywords, journals, as well as snowballing and recommendations.
Road freight transportation