5 Ways Intelligent Logistics Technologies Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

Arya Bharti

5 Ways Intelligent Logistics Technologies Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

As the world gathers for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai, the spotlight is on the urgent need to address the climate crisis. Transportation, a significant contributor to global emissions, is a key area for action. 

To illustrate, Doordash, a major U.S. food delivery app, has about one million drivers – meaning one million cars on the roads for deliveries. This showcases the significant carbon emissions challenge posed by the booming popularity of food delivery, contributing to environmental concerns with increased transportation usage. Further, as per the International Energy Agency, transport accounts for more than one-third of CO2 emissions from end‐use sectors.

While transportation is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions, of all the segments, light-duty vehicles account for 36% of carbon dioxide emissions. Hence, the industry is shifting towards eco-friendly practices and greener transportation, and as much as 82% of shipping customers are willing to pay more for sustainable logistics. 

So, when it comes to taming this emissions behemoth, intelligent technologies can be a powerful solution. From the ability to create more efficient routes to completing more deliveries per trip per rider – there are many key metrics they can help businesses achieve. Here is a closer look at some of them.

Reducing the Empty Miles

Stats suggest that the number of miles trucks drive empty is anywhere between 20% and 33%. Further, the percentage of empty miles driven varies by type of carrier, namely – 40% for private fleets, 39% for independent carriers and owner-operators, and 34% for mid-sized and large asset-based carriers. 

Keeping in mind the large-scale application of all such carriers and trucks in the supply chain and logistics industry, reducing the empty miles can definitely bring down carbon emissions. Advanced route optimization and transportation management systems can not only help businesses reduce empty miles via intelligent load planning, FTL/PTL planning, carrier selection, etc., but they can also maximize vehicle capacity utilization.

Reducing the Miles Traveled

Miles traveled is another critical metric that can help businesses cut down their carbon emissions. Inefficient routing and transportation not only balloon up the logistics costs but also add to carbon emissions that could have been easily avoided. 

Advanced route planning and optimization platforms powered by intelligent technologies like AI and ML can significantly reduce miles traveled. By analyzing vast datasets and considering factors such as real-time traffic, delivery windows, and optimal routes, they create efficient and optimal routes for each delivery. 

They help businesses complete deliveries via the shortest and fastest paths, reducing unnecessary detours and empty miles. This intelligent approach not only enhances delivery efficiency but also contributes to substantial fuel savings and a decrease in overall transportation emissions. 

Making Miles Driven Greener

Beyond reducing empty miles and miles traveled, businesses can further minimize the environmental impact of transportation by optimizing the miles driven. This includes transitioning to fuel-efficient vehicles, promoting eco-driving practices such as maintaining consistent speeds, avoiding harsh acceleration and braking, and exploring the use of alternative fuels like biofuels or electricity.

Optimizing vehicle economy via smart carrier/vehicle management, optimal loads, and loading/unloading sequences – advanced logistics platforms can also help in reducing the market vehicle requirements and increase the number of deliveries done per vehicle per rider, which cuts down carbon emissions.

Improving First Attempt Delivery Success 

Improving first-attempt delivery success is a critical aspect of optimizing transportation operations and reducing emissions. Reducing failed deliveries minimizes fuel consumption and associated emissions.

Further, customers appreciate timely and predictable deliveries, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty, and fewer failed deliveries mean lower operational costs, such as redelivery expenses and customer support resources.

Smart delivery management platforms offer real-time delivery tracking and customer-rider communication, flexible delivery operations, predictive analytics, and many more such capabilities that help businesses reduce multiple attempts and reduce carbon emissions.

Strategic Delivery/Transportation Planning 

Clubbing orders going on the same way, pooling asset and delivery resources mapped to multiple child hubs in a zone/area, and dynamically adjusting to real-life disruptions – strategic planning can help businesses unlock emissions reductions in multiple ways. 

Instead of focusing only on fuel consumption, zooming in on manpower and resource planning and ensuring highly efficient deliveries even during seasonal rush and sudden order peaks or declines can make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions.

Clubbing return pickups with deliveries, en-route allocation, and minimizing returns movements with strategic warehouse planning are some other ways to reduce carbon emissions from transportation. 

Smart logistics and supply chain management solutions come with in-built delivery and transportation planning workflows that empower businesses to execute highly efficient operations with minimal carbon footprint. 

Over the years, Shipsy has helped businesses all over the globe eliminate more than 1 billion miles and save 750 KT of carbon emissions with its intelligent solutions. The goal of achieving zero emissions might seem far-fetched for businesses running on legacy technologies and manually-managed operations. However, it is just a matter of time for businesses that have embraced intelligent technology-powered tech infrastructure for process and operations management. 


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