How Haulage Can Become More Environmentally Friendly

Every sector is getting pushed to do their bit to improve their impact on the environment and become more sustainable. World Environment Day is in June and aims to raise further awareness of the urgent need to change to prevent further climate change.

Despite that greenhouse gas emissions had fell in 2020, due to less people using road transports, the haulage and transport sector still accounted for almost a third of all CO2 emissions. Resulting in this sector being one of main contributors to the UK’s carbon emissions.

With businesses opening back up, road activity has returned to the same levels as pre-pandemic. Therefore, the sector is set to increase its carbon output once again. But as the net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 deadline looms, all businesses will be looking to reduce their carbon footprint, make their businesses more environmentally friendly, and cut costs in the process. Hauliers have already made great strides by prioritising fuel efficiency, investing in new and more efficient vehicles, and embedding best-practice driving into their training.

Ahead of this year’s World Environment Day, Returnloads looks at four additional ways that the haulage and transport sector can take to reduce its emissions to not only tackle climate change but to become more efficient and cut costs.

Optimise Journey

Planning transport can be difficult if it’s done manually and with a lack of tools. Technology can remove the guesswork for hauliers planning multi-drop deliveries and help to create more realistic and environmentally efficient plans before the wheels start to turn. With transport management route planning software, you can visualise work on a map, plan routes, and bring all the right jobs together into a load quickly. This gives planners all the right information they need to make informed decisions to reduce risk, running costs, and your carbon footprint significantly.

There for when you run empty

There are some instances where you might have a full, efficiently packed load. . But once you’ve completed your journey, you need to travel back with an empty vehicle. That’s not eco-friendly or cost-effective.  

Fortunately, there are now platforms that offer freight exchange services for this exact purpose. Shippers can offer their available loads and advertise at the collection point and destination. If your initial delivery is near the collection point and you’re travelling back to the same destination, you can eliminate your dead miles, increase your business’ profits, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Use electric vehicles

It’s acknowledged than many hauliers are sill utilising petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. The capital outlay required to buy new vehicles is high, especially after a year that has ravaged the sector’s financial stability. But when it’s time to replace a vehicle in your fleet, moving to electric trucks is essential.

In addition, if your company grows to the point where you can expand your fleet, electric vehicles should be your first choice. This is a great way to integrate electric vans and trucks into your fleet without needing to source extra budget for them.

Despite that the 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles won’t affect HGVs, electric is destined to be the new norm. This proliferation of electric vehicles means they will become more affordable across the board.

Carbon Offsetting
Due to the nature of the business, the transport and haulage sector naturally produces a high carbon footprint thus, must work harder to reduce emissions. While measures like switching to electric vehicles and packing your vehicles more efficiently will help you to dramatically reduce your emissions, you can also look at carbon offsetting to work towards becoming carbon neutral.

Carbon offsetting projects allows companies to contribute to projects that will balance out their carbon emissions. This could be tree-planting initiatives, providing clean energy items to businesses or consumers, or capturing harmful gases at landfills. These projects should be considered an additional option alongside measures including using electric vehicles and securing backloads. They’re a great option for businesses who can’t completely eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s appreciated that some carbon emissions from the transport and haulage sector are unavoidable because of the nature of the industry. But this doesn’t mean we can’t reduce and offset those emissions to contribute towards tackling climate change. From optimising your routes to eliminating dead mileage with return loads and switching to low-emission electric vehicles, we can take action to reduce emissions from one of the UK’s most essential sectors.