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Key questions to ask yourself when implementing green logistics

Updated: Jan 11

In the book “Green Logistics” written by professor Allan Mckinnon and others, the concept is compromised into five main areas: reducing freight transport externalities, city logistics, reverse logistics, corporate environmental strategies towards logistics, and green supply chain management.

A more general definition of the concept is that green logistics describes all attempts to measure and minimise the ecological impact of logistics activities. In practice, green logistics should be implemented in such a way that there are benefits for these three stakeholders; economy, environment, and society.

So, how can we find ways of implementing this concept, striking three birds with one stone?

The following questions may be asked by logistics service providers, but also by shippers who want to ensure that their logistics service providers employ services as green as possible.

1. How can I ensure that all transportation resources are well used?

One thing should be clear: If we manage to use less energy to move goods from origin to destination, it will lead to a decrease in the cost of movement and a decrease in greenhouse emissions. Even if the vehicle is electric, the energy has to come from somewhere. To minimise the use of energy, all logistics units and other transportation resources should always high the highest fill rate as possible. Hence, load factors should approach 100% on long hauls and be close to 100% when vehicles leave terminals for last mile deliveries.

2. Is the fleet of trucks being used properly?

One thing is filling all trucks and other transport means properly. Another aspect is making sure that they move as efficiently as possible, such as taking the smartest route to its destination, avoiding traffic jam, roadblocks, and other things that can cause time delays. Dynamic routing of trucks will ensure that the trucks drive the most efficient route and minimises the use of energy.

3. How to manage green supply chains?

Peter Drucker, one of the brightest management consultants over time, said “If you can't measure it, you can't improve it”.

This statement is particularly relevant when trying to implement green logistics. To make sure that you are making your logistics operations greener, you need to continuously measure your operations.

This means capturing and processing all kinds of events (status) to assess the performance of all logistics processes in use.

To do this properly, all information exchange between logistics stakeholders needs to be electronic. Information capture needs to start as early as possible in the chain or network. This requires shippers to provide all information relevant to logistics in electronic form.

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