(Nov. 5th, 2015, Beijing) Traffic related air pollution is one of the major sources of the notorious haze in China. Among different types of vehicles, emission from freight trucks is most difficult to tackle. To solve this problem, China Road Transport Associations (CRTA), Clean Air Asia (CAA), Smart Freight Centre (SFC), Green Freight Asia and the Environmental Protection Agency of the US held the “Shippers Day” workshop, which for the first time brought shippers and carriers together talking about shippers’ role in building green freight industry in China. Participants discussed about how to motivate shippers to choose greener carriers in order to promote green freight development in China by increasing energy efficiency, reducing emissions, improving and upgrading trucks in road freight industry. At the workshop, shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) expressed their support for green freight, and provided suggestions.
Shippers welcome green freight development yet costs and other factors are still concerns
Dr. FU Lu, China Director of Clean Air Asia, one of the initiators of “China Green Freight Initiative (CGFI)”, said, “Freight industry in China is facing the problems of a highly fragmented structure, low energy efficiency and heavy pollution. While LSPs and truck drivers playing an important role in the industry’s green transformation, shippers’ willingness to choose greener carriers will accelerate the progress.”
Many shippers expressed their welcome towards green freight at the workshop. IKEA Transport Manager said, “IKEA has set an emission reduction goal by 2020, which is part of IKEA’s corporate social responsibility. We need LPSs’ help to achieve this goal.” Commercial and Operation of Procter & Gamble Co. introduced that “The future trend for P&G is doing the right things, Green Freight is just one of them. We are happy to see that our LSPs propose green freight plans.”
Supervisor of Asia SCM-Logistics Department of Canon (China) Co., Ltd. said, “Enterprises consider from the perspective of economic effectiveness. If Green Freight Carriers do have advantages on prices over others, we will consider signing contracts with more carriers with green certifications without doubt.”
“We hope that Green Freight Certification will gain higher popularity as it will be more attractive for shippers to choose certified freight companies and bring us a good reputation at the same time.” One shipper at the workshop added.
While shippers gaining motivation, the problem is “how to do it”
Wei Zhenmin, the Chief Engineer of Beijing Xianglong Logistics Co., Ltd. indicated that the role of shippers was crucial because LSPs are sensitive to their requirements. He also posed problems that LSPs were having when carrying out green freight plans, including low social awareness about green freight, absence of energy conservation and emission reduction technologies, drivers’ lack of green driving skills and insufficient use of information technology. Zhou Zhicheng, Deputy Director of China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing Research Office said “Large companies are in the leading position of green freight practices thanks to their own corporate social responsibility, but for most small and medium freight companies, the most direct motivation is to save money from reducing energy consumption and labor cost. Currently, reliable technical recommendations are deficient and companies are desperate to know which technologies can actually save fuels.”
Many logistics companies at the event indicated that they were willing to conduct energy conservation, because these techniques can help them save fuel and reduce costs. However, emission reduction itself cannot bring benefits, companies therefore are lack of motivation, which requires policy support from government.
In response to these problems, International Cooperation Director Zhang Guanghe from CRTA introduced, “CGFI is committed to promoting sustainable development in road transport industry, which is now officially entered into the fourth year of operation. We have released ‘Green Freight Vehicle Standards’ and ‘Green Freight Enterprise Standards’ in July this year. The first enterprises with Green Carriers Certification will be announced at the end of 2015 and the list of recommended technologies will also be published next year. We will also take problems raised in this workshop into account of our future work.”
The “Shippers’ Day” is one of the activities under the CGFI project. CGFI is a public welfare activity created in 2012 by CRTA, CAA and Research Institute of Highway (RIOH) of Ministry of Transport and supported by Energy Foundation China, aiming to promote green and safe development in freight industry through investigation and research, international cooperation, standards setting and pilot demonstration. GIZ, SFC and Beijing Transport and Environment Center have become partners to the project. Currently CGFI has been included in the US-China Climate Change Working Group.
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