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EU climate strategy and logistics

The Alliance for European Logistics (AEL) is a one-of-a-kind industry coalition bringing together companies that provide and use logistics services in Europe. Launched in November 2008, AEL builds on the shared commitment of its members to enhance the logistics industry’s profile among European policymakers. The AEL collaborates closely with European institutions and stakeholders to raise awareness on the unique role that logistics play in helping the EU achieve its policy goals for 2030 and beyond.

As the global shift towards a low-carbon and circular economy is underway, the logistics industry is becoming the frontrunner in many green services, technologies and initiatives. Sustainability is a fundamental part of our industry’s transition. We are focusing our efforts on optimising the fleets and network, introducing innovative technologies and developing green logistics solutions for customers.

In view of the ongoing development of the EU climate and decarbonisation strategy, the AEL members outline below several key considerations from the logistics industry perspective.

Key trends in logistics and climate change

The key trends impacting logistics and climate change, on the one hand, stem from the changing consumer behaviour of citizens through e-commerce leading to increase of the number of necessary delivery services. At the same time, consumers and end users demand options for sustainable supply chains driving demand for intermodal initially but, longer term, also for sustainable alternative fuels use. The Alliance for European Logistics fully supports the drive towards sustainable supply chains and our members are working towards developing different solutions across the value chain.

Our members also notice a move towards local (on-site) production of green energy, for example in the use of solar panels, wind turbines, maintenance buildings with CO2 free biogas and many more. Furthermore, there is a noticeable shift towards the greening of equipment. For example, in the ports sector, there is a switch from diesel-powered to electric vehicles which reduces pollution but also noise. Automated guided vehicles and LNG terminal tractor are other examples of this trend. These trends are combined with increased public investment and support for R&D (e.g. development of alternative energy solutions, government subsidies to aid renewable energy and electrification projects such as shore power, electrified rail routes, development of hydrogen technology).

Moreover, digitalisation creates opportunities to optimize traffic and thus reduce emissions. Technologies evolve quickly on HDV, with IT-IS solutions allowing better use of resources and means. Shared IT and IS tools and solutions allow better solutions for logistics and transport. These solutions are available on the cloud and optimize the regional transport or proximity transport almost in real-time.

Another trend that our members see is the concentration of players in maritime and road transport. However, in the maritime sector, this is more visible than in the road sector in particular with regard to synergies of means such as sharing of vessels between maritime transport companies. With this tendency, it is important that the vessels fulfil the adopted environmental norms in order to enhance the decarbonisation of the fleet.

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