Freight Transportation Needs More Climate Efficiency - Global Trade Magazine
  November 4th, 2016 | Written by

Freight Transportation Needs More Climate Efficiency

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  • Freight transportation is expected to grow by a factor of 4.3 between 2010 and 2050.
  • Freight transportation accounts for roughly seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • UNCTAD meeting will include discussion on freight transportation and the climate agenda.

Trade-related freight transportation is expected to grow by a factor of 4.3 between 2010 and 2050, but addressing climate change requires that it become more energy efficient, an UNCTAD official said, outlining a series of solutions ahead of a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting at COP 22 on freight efficiency.

Freight transportation accounts for roughly seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and emissions from trade-related activities are expected to increase by a factor of 3.9 between 2010 and 2050, according to Frida Youssef, head of UNCTAD’s transportation section.

“Freight transportation is central to the goal of expanding trade and creating jobs, but we need to get emissions down,” she said. “Developing countries which are investing in infrastructure may have an opportunity get their transportation infrastructure right.”

COP 22, which will take place November 11, 2016, in Marrakesh, Morocco will include a discussion on strengthening the focus of freight transportation in the climate agenda. The event will aim to help raise awareness of the role of sustainable freight transportation and share best low carbon and sustainable freight transportation practices.

Solutions to make freight transportation more energy efficient include better use of technology and innovation, use of cleaner fuels and more efficient transportation, regulations, and other measures.

Several developing countries have begun to boost the efficiency of their freight transportation. The 2012 China Green Freight Initiative aims to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2, and air pollutant emissions, by adopting cleaner technologies and smarter freight management practices.

Indonesia has introduced comprehensive policies to promote sustainable freight transportation systems by improving fuel efficiency and reducing the transportation burden on roads, which currently account for about 70 percent of volume.

Approaches in other countries, such as India, included dedicated freight corridors to shift freight traffic from roads to rail. Africa‘s Northern Corridor links landlocked Uganda, Rwanda, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Burundi with Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa, helping to boost trade while boosting the efficiency of freight transportation. Since the route was re-established, freight costs have dropped from Mombasa to Nairobi by 56 percent and from Mombasa to Goma by 38 percent.

Industry is also pushing for low-carbon and sustainable freight transportation with initiatives such as the Clean Cargo Working Group and the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.