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Logistics managers bemoan slow progress on environmental impact

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Logistics managers believe they are failing to keep up with public demand for reducing their environmental impact, a new survey has found.

The poll of 100 industry executives by routing technology company Paragon Software Systems found that 75% of transport planning professionals have seen increasing pressure on their logistics operations to reduce environmental impact over the last 12 months.

However, 66% believed that much more needs to be done to keep up with public pressure.

Asked to name drivers for change, 56% of respondents reported financial pressures, including rising fuel prices. Central government and local government legislation and regulation were cited by 36% and 26% respectively. Customer and CSR requirements were cited by 22% and 18% respectively.

The concern about the slow pace of change came despite 46% saying that their logistics operations had achieved substantial green improvements, while only 21% said no positive results had been achieved.

Respondents mainly attributed success to increased efficiency through better route planning or driver behaviour.

Despite the slew of announcements around electric vehicles, including a new announcement from DPD today, the survey found only 18% of respondents had added alternative fuel vehicles to their fleets. This compared to 65% who had invested in the latest, less polluting, Euro 6 diesel vehicles and 29% in aerodynamic or double-deck trailers.

This came as 71% cited high capital cost of greener vehicles and 50% the lack of viable alternative fuel vehicles as reasons for not using them.

Asked to define what would be transformative technologies over the next five years, 69% named electric HGVs while 55% named electric or alternative fuel vans. 38% believed improved supply chain modelling, 36% the introduction of urban bans for diesel vehicles and 19% consolidation centres.

William Salter, MD of Paragon Software Systems commented: “The widespread frustration with politicians and big businesses, culminating in protests worldwide during 2019, should act as a wake-up call to climate-polluting industries such as the road transport sector.

“Despite advances in more efficient vehicle technology, emissions omitted by HGVs and vans continue to rise, so much more needs to be done.

“The findings of our annual survey suggest that most logistics operations are in some way looking to operate efficiently, but this is perhaps more linked to cost reduction than part of a genuine strategy to minimise environmental impact.”

Read the eDelivery sustainability report here.

Image credit: Royal Mail

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