With globalisation and evolving consumer preferences, supply chains have become more complex with increased connectivity and multiple freight networks. The demand for speedier delivery and instant gratification has resulted in shorter but carbon-intensive modes of transportation. Larger vessels, frequent routes, energy inefficient logistics and cargo handling systems have all added to the environmental concerns.
The Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020 has indicated that there has been almost a 10% increase in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of total shipping between 2012 to 2018 and international shipping accounts for more than 2.2% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. There is no better time than now to make the total logistics and transportation industry more sustainable. We need to pay our attention to every part of the complex supply chains to combat the effects of carbonisation and execute our action plan towards net zero. Protecting our planet for future generations and eliminating the undesirable consequences of climate change on both economic prosperity and on natural systems is paramount.
While decarbonisation can be challenging, we can take several steps to work with partners like freight owners, suppliers and their customers to engage in decarbonisation activities and R&D to drive sustainability across the value chain. As a global provider of smart logistics solutions, at DP World we want to be the driving force on the path limiting the global warming to well-below 2°C and aspire to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Some of the major ways in which we can strive towards a carbon-neutral future are outlined below:
Making the way for sustainable fuel
Moving cargo is heavily dependent on fuel, particularly in the maritime sections of the industry. Thus, decarbonising fuel supply is crucial for zero-carbon future, yet it is filled with operational and technological complexities. It is not an easy switch to low-carbon fuel or alternate cleaner fuel like biodiesel, ammonia, carbon-neutral methanol or hydrogen. However, the International Maritime Organization has set the target to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% from the maritime industry by 2050. The new measures will require all ships to calculate their Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index and to establish annual operational carbon intensity indicators and their ratings. This has set the stage for organisations to explore the gamut of potential low-carbon fuel options.
On the landside, at the terminals, clean renewable energy can power port operations. DP World is building the largest rooftop solar project in the Middle East region, installing more than 157,000 solar panels across Dubai port operations. The Solar Power Programme will generate enough energy to power 4,600 homes for a year and achieve the equivalent environmental benefits as the carbon removed by 1 million trees over 10 years. In India, we have installed solar plants across our facilities in Nhava Sheva, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, and others.
Onward to renewable energy
We aim to use greener energy, procuring electricity from renewable energy or carbon-neutral sources, pursuing self-generation of renewable energy, Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and green energy tariffs. We use biodiesel in our operations in India and a substantial portion of our electricity is sourced from solar energy.
Not just shipping but landside operators play an important role too once the containers reach for onward distribution of cargo. Rail services connecting ports with inland terminals can substitute road transportation and further reduce emissions. Where road movement cannot be avoided, choosing trucks that use on cleaner fuels like hydrogen or are powered by electricity can help reduce emissions.
Revolutionary new automated transport systems like Virgin’s Hyperloop technology will deploy magnetically propelled high-speed cargo pods powered by renewable energy.
Invest in Equipment Efficiency
One important way to reduce diesel and marine fuel consumption is applying measures to increase efficiency of equipment at terminals and of fleets by evaluating upgrades, retrofitting and replacement. Some emerging technology aims to capture Co2 from exhaust of marine equipment and ships. Technological advances like AI-enabled, automated systems for maintenance and operation continue to streamline the way ports, shipping and logistics function.
Digitisation of systems and processes like creating online platforms to provide end-to-end solution simplifies the cargo booking process, cargo tracking and optimise resources while enabling seamless, safe and secure movement of ocean freights. These platforms reduce inefficiencies, drive faster trade minimising unnecessary movements thereby reducing carbon footprint.
Algorithms, such as guiding intelligent container stacking systems, demand forecasting to avoid overproduction, and optimising vehicle routing systems can also help reduce emissions.
Achieving net zero in a globalised environment of international trade is a formidable challenge but one that is possible by working together with every member of the supply chain -freight owners, logistics partners, freight forwarders and transporters. Active partnerships in creating new approaches to decarbonise will help build a more sustainable world.
At DP World, we continue to collaborate with partners in research and development (R&D), and technology. For perspective, DP World has entered a strategic partnership with Maersk McKinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping to facilitate development and implementation of new technologies, build confidence in new concepts and mature viable strategic ways to drive the required systemic and regulatory change.