Over half of U.S. imports–53%–and 38% of U.S. exports travel by ocean. Every year, international freight shipping companies earn an average of $165 billion. With door to door shipping, freight logistics, and international freight forwarders accounting for such a large chunk of the industry, you may ask what these companies are doing to make sure their shipping practices are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Here are just a few of the ways international freight shippers are doing their part for the planet.
1. Favoring Full Container Loads (FCL)
Shipping full container loads over less than container loads (LCLs) makes a lot of sense. It costs less money, it takes less time, and goods are carefully packed more tightly together, giving them less chance of jostling around or incurring damage than in LCLs. Most importantly, it’s eco-friendly!
Because shipping full container loads involves shipping more cargo at one time, it is more efficient and takes fewer trips. If you do not have enough cargo for a FCL, there are companies that you can turn to compile various LCLs into FCLs for shipping.
2. Embracing Digitization And Cutting Edge Technology
Similarly, running operations more efficiently means a lower carbon footprint. Freight logistics companies and shipping companies are adopting relatively new software as a service (SaaS) to do just that. With SaaS solutions, shippers, carriers, and freight forwarders can coordinate and optimize every step of the process. For example, SaaS enables businesses to use as much truck space as possible. Doing that reduces the overall amount of trucks they need, reduces the fuel needed, and lowers associated costs.
Similarly, new technology makes it possible to predict variations in voyages. In other words, apps and programs can predict foul weather or unfavorable ocean conditions. Equipped with this knowledge, companies can plan an alternate route and save the cost, time, and emissions associated with having to avoid bad weather or turn back.
3. Redesigning Ships
Some companies are even taking it as far as redesigning their ships. For years, shipping companies used ships with rounded hulls. By simply choosing ships or redesigning ships with a slightly pointed hull, companies speed up voyages, reduce costs, and help keep shipping environmentally friendly.
Some of the newest ships even employ air-cushion technology. This creates a pocket of air under the hull, increases ship speeds, and reduces emissions by as much as 10-15%.
4. Using Recycled Materials
Another way freight logistics companies are going green is to recycle whenever possible. More and more companies are using electronic systems and hand-held electronic devices at the port, eliminating the need to constantly use paper. Additionally, companies participate in recycling programs and use recyclable or decomposable packaging materials whenever possible.
5. Making the Switch To Low Carbon Fuel
As of 2020, freight companies are now required to fuel their ships using a more energy-efficient and lower emission fuel blend. Low carbon fuels help a great deal. Companies can–and often do–go a step further by using filtering equipment to separate impurities like ash, sulfur, and excess particles from the fuel. Doing so makes fuel more efficient and reduces costs.
Worldwide, officials are shocking the freight industry with its new International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 mandate. If the mandate is successful, the organization has even greater aims for complete decarbonization by 2020. This year and in the years to come, freight logistics companies will adhere to new laws and regulations and do whatever they can to keep operations as efficient and as green as possible.