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A new study by UK business connectivity provider Neos Networks has found that more than half (55%) of UK companies are actively planning to introduce battery electric vehicle freight fleets in as little as five years to achieve net zero targets.
Battery electric vehicles are more than twice as popular as competing technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles at 26 percent of companies, or other alternative fuels at 23 percent.
Only 7% of operators did not plan any decarbonization measures during this period.
Respondents are open to digital solutions to supplement delivery fleets with battery electric vehicles.
The Freight Green Technology Report 2022, produced by Neos, asked executives at 34 of the UK’s leading logistics companies about their perceptions of changes since the decarbonisation plan, the barriers they face in meeting their green targets and the future prospects for the sector.
42% of freighters list artificial intelligence and cross-business data learning as key to their decarbonization plans. A year after the UK government announced plans to decarbonize transport, industry experts are encouraging operators to act now and “get smart” by laying the foundations for data systems.
Currently, only two-fifths of companies that collect and report primary (real-time) data on greenhouse gas and or carbon emissions use this data to improve operational efficiency.
To take advantage of the information available, Neos Networks recommends that investments in network systems, staff expertise and connectivity infrastructure are required.
Can the industry meet the government’s net-zero emissions target?
More than half (55%) of respondents said they were positive about the achievement of the goal, although 45% of operators still need to be convinced.
Three out of five T&L operators (61%) cited high capital costs as the biggest barrier to achieving their net zero goals, followed by concerns that some shippers might prefer lower costs to greener practices. 35% of operators say low cost and sustainability are significant barriers to decarbonisation.
Digitization may be the solution for a more sustainable logistics industry.
Joanne Green, sales director for public sector and transport at Neos Networks, states:
“We regularly talk to leaders in the transport sector, and hear about the challenges they face when it comes to decarbonisation. Smart tech, AI and real-time data are already being introduced by many to enable them to become more efficient. These can be important first steps on the road to achieving net-zero.
“The government has also recognised this, identifying greater use of AI and data tools as key to cutting freight emissions, particularly for smaller operators. And yet, for any of these technologies to be truly beneficial, the sector must ensure they have the right infrastructure and support in place to enable them.
“Across all kinds of industries, we’ve seen that digital transformation is more successful when connectivity requirements are properly understood and budgeted for. Integrating smart technology and AI systems into operations is no different – it needs sufficient investment and upfront planning or it simply won’t work.”
Reducing operational inefficiencies could be a path to decarbonization.
Kerry Fawcett, digital director at iCompario, says:
“Decarbonisation is an obstacle for logistics and transport, but can also bring about major improvements – recognising that solutions need to be implemented to avoid climate disaster through mismanagement of resources in one of the most pollutive industries. Exploring new technologies will be the key to change.
“There are ways to “go green” in the industry by electrifying fleets, however, this comes at a substantial capital cost to the organisation. A soft route into this will be through the use of technology and insights into operating behaviour of vehicles and drivers to better understand how this can be improved.”
“Reducing idling hours, monitoring fuel usage and insights into driver behaviour will give leaders granular detail to make environmentally aware decisions regarding the use of their carbon-emitting assets.“
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