Energy efficiency improvements in logistics as a means to environmental sustainability: The case of capacity utilisation in road freight transportation
Licentiatavhandling, 2017

The energy consumption in logistics, and especially in road freight transportation, is steadily increasing and with that the greenhouse gas emissions which have a negative impact on the environment. In order to improve environmental sustainability of logistics, a change in the actors’ behaviour and policies is needed since the development of technology alone is not sufficient. This thesis addresses energy efficiency improvements in logistics by using unutilised capacity as a means to environmental sustainability. This way, energy which has been untapped can finally be utilised. A framework of energy efficiency and its building blocks is developed. Causes of unutilised capacity are identified and countermeasures proposed. Further, the logistics fulfilment in the last leg of the supply chain is analysed with focus on the role of the end consumer in order to reach energy efficiency. This thesis is a compilation of three papers based on a literature review, secondary evidence and two interview studies. First, literature within freight transportation, logistics and supply chain management that focuses on the energy-logistics domain and environmental sustainability was reviewed. Second, secondary evidence from logistics service providers and their customers was analysed in order to outline current practices and activities in the industry. Third, the first interview study was conducted with logistics service providers and their customers and focused on where unutilised capacity is available and how it can be utilised. And fourth, the second interview study with actors who work within the last mile focused on logistics fulfilment and identified energy efficiency characteristics of different fulfilment options as well as assigning the end consumer a distinct role in the logistics system. The thesis contributes to the fields of road freight transportation and logistics at a cross-section with sustainability. Its contribution to management includes a framework on where the potential for improvement of energy efficiency is and how it can be exploited as well as a framework for logistics fulfilment with a focus on energy efficiency.

Capacity utilisation

household logistics capability

system levels

distribution structure

logistics system

energy efficiency

last-mile fulfilment


system boundaries

road freight transportation

Seminar room ”Korsvägen”, room 2456, 4th floor, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8
Opponent: Assistant Professor Anu Bask, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland


Jessica Wehner

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

Wehner, J., Halldórsson, Á. & Lumsden K. - Energy Efficiency by Utilising Overcapacity in the Logistics System?

Wehner, J. - Increasing energy efficiency in road freight transportation: Analysing causes and countermeasures of unutilised capacity

Halldórsson, Á. & Wehner, J. - Sustainable Development of Logistics: The Case of Energy Efficiency in Last-Mile Fulfillment


Hållbar utveckling




Annan teknik


Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap

Licentiate thesis, report - Department of Technology of Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology: L2017:091



Seminar room ”Korsvägen”, room 2456, 4th floor, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8

Opponent: Assistant Professor Anu Bask, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

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