- Reduce emissions and save money as a logistics provider
- Start by measuring current costs and emissions
- Drive more efficiently
- Retrofit vehicles
- Switch to alternatively fuelled vehicles
- Switch to electric vehicles
- Electrify your fleet before the deadline
- Use electric cargo bikes for ‘last mile’ deliveries
- Switch to rail or waterborne freight
- Find finance and support
If your business provides logistics services to other businesses, there are a number of ways to reduce emissions and save on running costs.
- driving more efficiently
- retrofitting existing vehicles
- switching to alternative fuels or electric vehicles
- switching to rail or water freight
The benefits of these changes include:
- saving money on fuel and driving fees in major cities
- passing on savings to your customers to remain competitive
- enhancing your reputation as a green business
- preparation for future laws and regulations
It can be helpful to start by creating an annual emissions and cost inventory for current logistics activities. This creates a baseline to measure against after you take action.
Fuel and maintenance costs can be calculated by adding up bills or running a report in your accounting software.
Once you have an estimate of fuel usage, use the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Fuel Cost Cutter’ tool on their Freight Portal to find out which actions it can help you save.
Emissions can be calculated based on the litres of fuel used or miles travelled using:
- air, rail and HGV freight
- your transport fleet
- your company vehicles
Input research into a spreadsheet and make calculations. Use the GOV.UK conversion factors template to get a rough idea of your emissions across different modes of transport.
According to a 2020 survey of SMEs that provide logistics (PDF), changing driver behaviour was a popular way to save on emissions and costs.
This research showed that fuel efficiency driver training:
- had the shortest payback period of all efficiency measures
- saved an average of 15% on fuel use and carbon emissions
Other ‘quick wins’ for increasing efficiency include:
- tyre pressure management
- route and load planning
- improving aerodynamics
- using telematics systems
Certain types of commercial vans and HGVs can be retrofitted to use less fuel and create less emissions.
This can involve:
- installing extra parts to the exhaust system
- converting the vehicle to use lower emission fuels
This can help save on fuel costs and avoid driving fees in major cities that have clear air zones.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s clean vehicle retrofit scheme to find out if your fleet is eligible for upgrades.
Low carbon fuels and other alternative fuels can provide greenhouse gas savings compared to standard fossil fuels. The range of alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles that can use these fuels is increasing.
You can run or adapt existing vehicles to use:
- higher blends various forms of biodiesel (including FAME and HVO)
- compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), including biomethane
- battery electric
- hydrogen fuel cells
Some of these options offer lower tailpipe emissions and relief from driving fees in cities, though you need to work out how to source the fuel and keep vehicles supplied.
The cost and driving range of commercial electric vehicles (EVs) is improving over time. These make sense to consider if:
- your existing fleet is at the end of its lifecycle
- you don’t need to move freight long distances
- you can charge the vehicles in line with your business operations
You should however consider if the battery type matches range, as battery packs are heavy and take up space.
Government grants of up to £25,000 are available depending on the type of commercial EV.
You will need to electrify or find alternate forms of transport before the upcoming ban on sales of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles starts coming into place in 2030.
Electric cargo or ‘e-Cargo’ bikes have batteries that provide assistance while riding.
These make sense to consider if you:
- make ‘last mile’ deliveries in city centres
- need to make several deliveries in close proximity
- don’t need more than 50 miles of range per day
- have loads of 250 kg or less
Electric cargo bikes usually cost between £3,000 and £12,000.
As compared to traditional road or air freight, moving goods by rail or water produces far less carbon emissions per mile.
Each rail freight journey takes 70 HGV road freight movements off the road.
Points to consider are the:
- destination of goods and timeframe
- type of goods, for example, short shelf life goods may not be suitable
- locations of destination hubs
- choice of shipping line and their carbon emissions
Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Advice for large fleets to reduce costs and emissions’ for support for large fleets.
The UK government has a grant scheme to help freight businesses switch modes of transport. You must show that the cost of rail or water shipping is higher than using roads.
The grant subsidises rail and waterborne freight to make it the more financially attractive option.
- Get a free fleet review by Energy Saving Trust
- Find finance and support by region
- Visit Energy Saving Trust’s local electric vehicle infrastructure scheme (England)
- Hire consulting help if you can afford it
- Learn from what other businesses like me have done
- Visit GOV.UK’s Decarbonising road freight, servicing and deliveries: local authority toolkit