Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Environmental Concerns Are Paramount for Freight Forwarding and Logistics Interests

New Tool Will Calculate Emissions Impact and Align with European Standard EN 165287
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – WORLDWIDE – Along with most other large players in the logistics industry, environmental concerns rank as one of the most important factors in the service portfolio for freight forwarding group Panalpina, and the Swiss based outfit has introduced a tool to enable it to automatically calculate all customers’ emissions from the transport services they use, with immediate effect.

Called the ‘EcoTransIT World’ the system is the latest step in the company’s ‘PanGreen’ programme and is designed to reveal results based on the reporting standard EN 16258 and to produce more accurate reports than were hitherto availabe for customers so they can develop effective strategies to reduce the environmental impact of their global transport chains. EcoTransIT calculates emissions for each shipment including pre- and on-carriage movements based on distance, weight, transport mode, and the type of vessel or aircraft. The latter can usually be derived from flight numbers and for air freight the actual routing, which can involve several airports, is used.

For ocean freight, the ship size and speed reductions are considered. Distances are calculated using comprehensive GIS (Geographic Information System) data. Besides worldwide up-to-date road networks this database also contains the geographic coordinates of over 100,000 airports and ports. All necessary shipment information is sent from Panalpina’s communication platform to EcoTransIT servers where sophisticated algorithms are applied to calculate CO2 emissions and other parameters, such as particulate matter, as precisely as possible. The results are sent back to Panalpina where all the data is stored and the forwarder can then use this data to run reports and send them to the customers as needed.

EcoTransIT is aligned with the recently introduced EN 16528 European standard for the calculation and declaration of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from transport services. The standard goes beyond the usual CO2 reporting, and emissions are disclosed as CO2 equivalents (CO2e). CO2 equivalents include greenhouse gases other than CO2. For transport processes these include methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are converted to CO2 equivalents with a factor of 25 and 298, respectively (i.e. 1 kg of CH4 is equal to 25 kg of CO2). Upstream emissions from fuel production are also included in the new standard, while the total energy needed to make a shipment is expressed in gigajoules (GJ). Lindsay Zingg, Global Head of Quality, Health, Safety and Environment at Panalpina, explains further:

“EcoTransIT is a proven technology for mass calculations with a flexible interface. With the new system we can run far more accurate and detailed reports and do it much more efficiently than in the past. Our next step will be to make the tool directly accessible to our customers. Our goal is also to be able to give up-front online information on the CO2 impact of a single shipment.

“Our final stage will be to include CO2 levels and other environmental data in invoices. We want to be a pro-active player in environmental aspects. By providing our customers with the best possible accuracy and transparency for measuring the environmental impact of their shipments, we enable them to make informed decisions about the optimal mode of transport and routes.”