Exploring logistics actions enabling environmentally sustainable freight transport
Licentiate thesis, 2013
To curb unsustainable freight transport trends; such as transport growth, larger dependency on road transport and generally an increased share of greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, actions needs to be taken among actors in the logistics system. The purpose of this thesis is to explore logistics actions that enable environmentally sustainable freight transport. This explorative research, based primarily on empirical data from interviews, focus groups, and a case study, adopts the perspectives of different actors in the logistics system: transport buyers, freight forwarders, transport operators, and authorities.
The thesis identifies a wide range of actions in the logistics system to potentially enable environmentally sustainable freight transport. The perception from actors regarding what actions are important to adopt indicate that more knowledge among actors regarding how transport and traffic work can be reduced and how different actions affect each other are needed; especially how transport buyers acting affect the transport operations performed by freight forwarders and transport operators. By exploring what hinders environmentally sustainable freight transport in the interface between transport buyers and providers, it can be concluded that closer co-operation can provide better internal conditions for actors and new business solutions. Open dialogue, information sharing, and proactivity among both transport buyers and transport providers are essential. Furthermore, in order to increase load factor in practice, actions can be taken by transport buyers in the area of packaging, loading, and booking efficiency. More flexible time requirements will potentially increase the load factor. Gaining positive environmental effects from these changes is dependent on the freight forwarder’s actions in terms of consolidating with other transport buyers’ goods, route planning, and the positioning of vehicles. Since improvements in one actor’s system may not necessarily yield positive effects at a higher system level, it is important to also have a holistic view when aiming for environmentally sustainable freight transport.
This thesis contributes with knowledge about how logistics actors can work toward environmentally sustainable freight transportation by providing insight for managers of transport buying and transport providing companies by exemplifying the interactions between actors and actions and their potential effects.