Vietnam workshops target greening of the freight sector

Transport workshop (4)

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Adopting eco-driving in the freight sector will help in reducing the carbon footprint and ensuring environmental sustainability in GMS countries[/pullquote]

The Directorate for Roads of Vietnam (DRVN) conducted an Eco-Drive Dissemination Workshop and the Final Workshop on Phase 2 – Green Freight Project Implementation in Lao PDR and Vietnam on March 14- 15 in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam.

The workshops were supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of the Core Environment Program and Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, the main objective of which is to reduce the carbon footprint of freight transport across GMS economic corridors.

The aim of the workshop was to disseminate the outcomes of the project, to share regional experiences on eco-driving, and to promote an eco-driving curriculum in the national driving training system. In attendance at the workshop were trucking enterprises, driver training schools, Vietnam government institutions, and international organizations.

In her opening remarks, Nguyen Thi Nguyet Nga of the DRVN said, “Adopting eco-driving in the freight sector will help in reducing the carbon footprint and ensuring environmental sustainability in GMS countries”.

Clean Air Asia Transport Program Officer Pia Agatep, in a presentation on “Eco-driving Best Practices and Success Factors for Eco-driving Programs” said, “The critical factors for a successful eco-driving program based on the different eco-driving programs all over the world include establishing effective communication, marketing and branding; providing support for capacity building for relevant sectors; building a transport database; providing technological support; establishing an effective and sustainable monitoring, feedback and evaluation system; providing financing mechanisms that support SMEs; and policy support from the government”. She said that while there were numerous successful eco-driving programs throughout the world, programs needed to be localized to suit the needs of individual countries.

Dr Jurg Grutter from Grutter Consulting shared the results of an eco-driving training course which demonstrated potential savings in fuel consumption of from 3-5 percent. He said that results of the training yielded about 7 percent, decreasing to 2 percent after six months. “Eco-driving training impacts are not sustainable without regular follow-ups, and incentives for good drivers must be established.”

On the second day, the final workshop was aimed at imparting the implementation results of the green freight projects, solicit feedback, and scale up orientation for the next phase.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Eco-driving programs need to be localized to suit the needs of individual countries[/pullquote]

Duncan McLeod from the ADB-led GMS Environment Operations Center highlighted in his opening remarks the importance of the Green Freight Initiatives in Vietnam, saying it brought together different stakeholders who had forged the partnerships among institutions and organizations. He said such an initiative resulted in economic and environmental wins, reducing carbon footprints while simultaneously increasing efficiency and savings.

Nguyen Huu Tien, Deputy Director-General of the Environmental Department of the Ministry of Transport shared the MOT’s Action Plan in response to Climate Change and Green Growth 2016-2020. He said the Vietnam government was working to meet the country’s INDC to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 8 percent in 2030. He shared his agency’s six-point agenda, citing the development of transport infrastructure that was climate resilient and pollution mitigating; transport management that was aimed at achieving a low-carbon and energy-efficient transport system; promotion of environmentally friendly technology in the transport sector; application of GHG control methods for motor vehicles; awareness raising on the issues of climate change and the promotion of green growth in transportation; and strengthening international cooperation and diversification to mitigate climate change.

Clean Air Asia Transport Researcher Mark Tacderas presented on Green Freight Best Practices and highlighted in the elements of successful green freight programs. Extensive stakeholder engagement and strong public-private partnerships, a well-represented supply chain, the integration of “push” (carrier-driven) and “pull” (shipper-driven) elements for performance evaluation that use accessible and transparent information and methodology, active leadership in all sectors with impartial arbitration to ensure reliable and secure data, and consistent and reliable funding and financing mechanisms for the adaptation of technologies were necessary to succeed in greening the freight sector.

Wilasinee Poonuchaphai from GIZ introduced the Sustainable Freight Transport and Logistics in Mekong Sub-region. She said the building blocks of the project included measures to increase fuel efficiency to 500 SMEs, improvements in the handling and transportation of dangerous goods in eight SMEs together with regulatory improvements, increased access to finance for SMEs, and the promotion of labelling, green freight action plans and carbon footprinting.

Pei Yeo from Green Freight Asia spoke about the Green Freight Asia Program that was focused on sustainable road freight in the Asia-Pacific region – similar to US EPA SmartWay in the US and GFE in Europe – as a means to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and lower logistics costs across the entire supply chain. She presented the three key services GFA offered: GFA Label, GFA Intermediary Service to align the GFA Label with national programs in Asia-Pacific as well as other regions to standardize the definition and recognition of “Green Road Freight Transport”, and GFA Green Technology and Practice Platform to support the adoption of Green Truck Technologies/practices to bring them to scale.      

Dr Grutter shared the final results of green freight activities in Vietnam. Under the project, several green freight measures were tested, such as aerodynamics (2-4 percent fuel and GHG savings), low rolling resistance (4-6 percent fuel and GHG savings), tyre inflation (2-3 percent fuel and GHG savings), and eco-driving (3-5 percent fuel and GHG savings). He said that in order for the green freight program to be effective, it should be a combination of measures and technologies to reduce PM emissions.

Prior to the closing remarks, Vietnam Automobile Transport Association President Nguyen van Thanh expressed appreciation at being involved in the DRVN’s green freight initiative. He said the transport associations and participants would use the materials and knowledge they gained from the project to good use. “We will work towards adopting eco-driving in our operations and ensure that company drivers will change negative mindsets and behaviors to positive ones that are socially responsible.” He also emphasized that safety was one of the most important factors in adopting eco-driving and developing the green freight program. He appealed to the government to incentivize and provide policy and financial support to help companies shift to fuel efficient and environmentally friendly operations.

In her closing remarks, Ms Nga said financing mechanisms to support SMEs would be explored further in succeeding initiatives.