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The Future is Now (3) | Environment turning into a cost item

Blog series on the transport industry by 2030 by Gertjan Breij, Managing Director DKV Euro Service Benelux

Although in the Netherlands trucks account for only 3% of all vehicles on the road, they account for road traffic emissions in the amount of 18% (CO2) and 40% (NOx). Goods transport will continue to grow, as appears from the ‘National Market and Capacity Analysis’ sent by the Netherlands Minister for Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen to the Second Chamber in May 2017. The issue of sustainability; we cannot get round it any longer, together with its accompanying Paris Climate Convention, in which the Netherlands indirectly commits itself to 40-50% reduction of CO2-emissions by 2030. In decades to come the transport industry will be undergoing drastic changes as a result.  

Local production

New disruptive technologies (read more about this in part 2 of the blog serie) enable us to standardise production techniques and to produce varying products in small series. This is enforced for instance by the appearance of 3D printing technology. Now combine this with a growing demand for sustainable solutions on behalf of consumers and the emergence of the sharing economy, instigated also by Generations Y and Z (find out more here) and the result is that a major portion of future production capacity will shift to the cities: in close proximity to users. More and more goods are locally produced and transported, shared, repaired and re-collected after use over short distances. The impact on the transport industry is evident: there will be more room for companies that excel in the so-called ‘last mile’ and for specialist (sustainable) mobility solutions.

The environment turning into a cost item

It will obviously be required from the transport and logistics industry that it contribute to reducing CO2-emissions. This is realised by measures like the use of alternative fuels and replacing fleet items by way of e-cars and e-trucks. In this last respect I was invited to attend the introduction of the world’s first 44-tonne electric truck at  Boonstra Transport in May this year. At DKV we see a steady rise in the number of companies choosing for the DKV CARD CLIMATE. This card makes it possible for DKV customers to compensate their CO₂-emissions by 100 per cent. However, the ambitious targets set after the Paris Climate Convention demand even more ambitious measures to be taken. In this respect the recent announcement of an imminent kilometre charge on truck traffic should not come as a surprise. The environment is turning into a cost item. There are various fluctuating amounts put on each tonne of C02 emitted. While Dutch climate experts for instance would propose a price ranging between €90.- to €100.- for each tonne of CO2 emitted, research carried out by Stanford University would rather indicate $220.- per tonne of CO2.[1] I would advise for you to make a calculation of your company’s emissions in tonnes of C02 and what this would imply for your company based on the above emission charges. In my view, simple on-charging of these costs to your customers would not be a good response to these rise in costs, as after all, the customer himself will make its own sustainable – and perhaps cheaper – choices in the end.

The EU as main driver

While at national political level the discussions currently centre around a kilometre charge to be imposed on truck transport, developments advocated by the EU for contributing to a more sustainable society are more far-reaching. In 2013 already, the EU defined several ‘urban mobility’ priorities to realise a permanent change in the transport industry. These plans focus intensely on urban areas: low-noise, low-emission and applying ‘freight consolidation areas’. We see this last aspect being put into practice right now, although it would appear to originate from the market itself. In this respect, the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam High School recently combined their logistic strengths, making their suppliers now deliver all their necessary goods at hubs around the city. Doing so, the number of journeys should be reduced from 30,000 to 750. The ultimate purpose set by the EU for 2030 is the realisation of C02 -free ‘City Logistics’ in the main city centres.[2]

 

DKV Euro Service as sustainable mobility partner

In this discussion DKV Euro Service assumes its responsibility too. As partner in the mobility area we for instance provide services that help our customers on their way to realising their sustainability targets. Take for example the DKV CARD CLIMATE mentioned above, and the DKV CARD +CHARGE. The latter is a hybrid card that enables the customer to charge electricity as well. Our Ratingen headquarters are known until far beyond our region for being exemplary buildings where it concerns sustainability. We make use of geothermal energy (earth warmth) thereby providing for a significant part of our heat supply to come from renewable energy sources. At the same time we have been fully compensating all our CO₂-emissions since 2013. Nevertheless, what I think is even more important in our role as sustainable mobility partner is that we would prefer to collaborate with our customers in order to find innovative solutions to make this world a greener place. We already do this for instance by way of the Eco Performance Award, one of Europe’s most prominent awards on innovative sustainability concepts in commercial goods transport tested in practice. This annual award is given to companies that operate according to highly sustainable standards, and I would be greatly honoured if it went to a Belgian of Dutch firm in 2018.

[1] https://www.klimaatplein.com/de-maatschappelijke-kosten-van-klimaatverandering

[2] http://slideplayer.com/slide/4696294/

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