Friday, April 1, 2011

Multimodal North American Report Out On The Future Of Environmental Cross Border Freight

CEC Says More Cooperation Needed
Shipping News Feature

US – CANADA – MEXICO – A new report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a multimodal organization established by the United States, Canada and Mexico in 1994 as part of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has urged cross border cooperation to improve the efficiency of truck and rail freight services in the region and improvements to supply chain infrastructure.

Entitled Destination Sustainability: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America, the report has received backing from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and calls for the NAFTA partners to consider forming a ministerial-level forum to foster an integrated, intelligent freight transportation system.

The report was prepared under the guidance of an Advisory Group including stakeholders from industry, academia, the environmental sector and government and goes on to recommend a review of carbon pricing, intended to focus companies on efficiency and investment in low-carbon fuel alternatives. It criticises the condition of a congested and deteriorating North American freight transport infrastructure, calling for investment from the three governments.

Other recommendations include better supply chain management, it believes competition between haulage groups means too many long haul trucks run empty and often make journeys better served by rail freight, recommends encouraging commercial vehicle drivers to adopt a more eco friendly style through training and calls for better exchange of information by the agencies in each country through the North American Transportation Statistics Interchange (NATS-Interchange) to enhance the quality and comparability of freight data, including the measurement of environmental impacts, to better manage freight transportation as a continent-wide system.

CEC Executive Director Evan Lloyd said of the report:

“Reducing the environmental impact of freight transportation in the face of increasing trade and economic growth in North America requires much more than continued progress on fuel economy and transport technology. This report calls on our three governments to adopt a vision of an integrated, intelligent freight transportation system for North America.

“Without such a vision, and the transformational investments that go with it, GHG emissions from freight transportation will continue to increase and the NAFTA countries will risk losing their competitive edge. But the report identifies clear opportunities, especially in light of infrastructure-related stimulus investment, to get this right.”

ATA Environmental Counsel Glen Kedzie, who participated in the development of the report’s key recommendations, commented:

“These recommendations provide a blueprint for leaders in this country, as well as in Mexico and Canada, as they craft transportation policy. The CEC report’s conclusions dovetail nicely with the recommendations of ATA’s sustainability plan, which laid out our industry’s path to saving fuel and reducing emissions.”