Sustainable logistics – What is it and how can BLG achieve it?

Sustainable logistics - what makes logistics so important for climate protection?

Since the resolution of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2°C, the importance of sustainability and environmental protection has grown steadily. The Fridays for Future movement has also drawn attention to this goal.

2021 demonstrated the critical role played by the logistics industry. The Covid pandemic highlighted the system relevance of ports, road, and rail. The logistics industry provides a key link between producers, retailers, and consumers. It also offers many additional services related to production. Apart from classical forwarding, other major activities are logistics services for the delivery, production, and distribution of goods. All this makes the logistics industry a crucial lever for climate protection.

Green logistics for a better climate footprint and lower emissions along our supply chain

We take a holistic view of the entire logistics chain, including all suppliers. This reveals a whole range of opportunities for sustainable logistics strategies. The result? We can save not only resources, but also costs across the board: in goods transport, construction and operation of buildings, storage and conveyor technology, through to packaging and loading equipment.

 

Supply chains play an important role in sustainable logistics. Customers increasingly demand sustainable transport solutions. What's more, digitalization and autonomous driving offer exciting opportunities for the logistics industry. Digital tools and platforms are effective drivers that can help save resources. Simultaneously, energy efficiency cuts costs. That is ever more important considering the current spiraling costs for energy and fuel.

BLG LOGISTICS is committed to cutting emissions along our supply chain by 15%. Included here are e.g. emissions from business trips and diesel consumption by our subcontractors. We want to establish and promote sustainable business practices not only at BLG, but also along the entire supply chain.

As land and energy costs rise and space for logistics buildings becomes scarce, a green approach to infrastructure, construction, and operation of warehouse and logistics centers offers huge potential for cost and resource savings as well as emission reductions from innovative solutions and smart processes.

For us, sustainable logistics is more than individual green actions. We aim to balance business performance, social commitment, and responsibility for the environment.

We cut emissions using three levers:

Das Icon zeigt einen Negativtrend, als Zeichen für einen immer geringer werdenden Energieverbrauch.

Wherever possible, we boost energy efficiency. This means optimal use of energy to achieve more performance from the same level of consumption.

Das Icon zeigt eine Glühlampe, als Sinnbild für die eigene Produktion von Strom durch Photovoltaikanlagen.

We generate our own clean electricity, e.g. from photovoltaic systems at various locations.

Das Icon zeigt eine Pflanze mit einem Stecker als Blüte, darstellend für den zunehmenden Einkauf von Ökostrom.

We purchase more green electricity.

"MISSION CLIMATE" – OUR ROUTE TO SUSTAINABLE LOGISTICS

We pool all our efforts to become a climate-neutral logistics company in our mission climate policy for climate protection.

We aim to achieve zero increase in atmospheric pollution in global terms from our business activities and sustainable logistics operations. To do this, we will slash our own emissions by 30% in absolute terms and cut emissions generated outside the company by 15%.

Additionally, we will compensate all other emissions to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.

 

 

HOW GREEN LOGISTICS CAN IMPROVE CLIMATE BALANCE.
PRACTICAL EXAMPLES FROM THE LOGISTICS INDUSTRY





"green rail" transport. It's a well-known fact that every kilometer of rail track actively vontributes to climate protection

That is one reason why long-distance traffic is increasingly moving onto rails. Another goal is longer freight trains. We need innovative solutions for this. The key is digital automated coupling (DAC). This innovation ensures faster formation of freight trains and automatically connects freight cars as well as their electricity, data and compressed-air lines. The data is transmitted directly to the locomotive. Today, train length is limited by the maximum coupling hook load. Digital automated coupling is designed for a greater coupling hook load and, together with electropneumatic brakes (ep brakes), it enables much longer trains of more than 1,000 meters. BLG RailTec is at the forefront of these developments and is cooperating with the Technical University of Berlin during the test phase. In Europe alone, 700,000 freight cars need to be retrofitted to take advantage of this technology. Currently, the team in Falkenberg is gaining the necessary expertise.

BLG LOGISTICS continues to achieve an improved carbon footprint with rail transport. With each train, BLG AutoRail can transport more than 200 cars. We exclusively use green electricity within the German and Austrian rail networks.

 

 

Thomas Bamberg, Managing Director BLG AutoRail GmbH

Sustainability in rail transport through innovation and digitalization
An important step on the way to sustainable rail logistics is digitalization of the processes. This will help us to involve all parties throughout the logistics chain. A targeted data flow will allow access to core parameters at all times to ensure smooth order processing. For example, DB Netz is developing a blockchain for its rail traffic network. The digital system will map not only passenger traffic, but also the operational train scheduling of the rail companies.

Nachhaltige Logistik via Schienenverkehr - Mehrere stehende Güterwagons, die mit Autos beladen sind.

Why automobile logistics is predestined for rail transport

For all participants in any logistics chain, rail transport is a fundamental contributor to positive development of their carbon footprint. Each train can transport more than 200 cars, removing a massive amount of trucks from the road. Especially in multimodal transport, rail is the ideal solution for longer national routes from around 300 km. Shorter distances tend to be covered by road. The last mile to a loading or unloading location almost always represents a bottleneck because often no electric overhead lines are installed and loads have to be transferred to diesel trains or trucks. There is plenty of potential for improvements here through coordinated operations by automobile manufacturers and logistics companies, and the use of multimodal terminals for handling at the interface between long-distance transport by rail and shorter-distance transport by road.

 

Green electricity for rail transport
Using electricity from renewable sources for rail transport is another major step towards an improved carbon footprint and green, low-carbon transport logistics. In Germany and Austria, BLG AutoRail already uses 100% green electricity in rail transport. We regularly ask rail transport companies to provide evidence about whether they purchase green electricity.

 

How using circular concepts to reduce zero-load trips can contribute to more sustainable rail transport

It makes sense to reduce zero-load trips in rail traffic. The way to do this is through cooperation with third-party rail logistics providers to devise more circular concepts and check that the legal and operational framework conditions are suitable. Here's one example: Container transports with the China Railway Express on the New Silk Road between Europe and China operate once a week within a fixed time slot. This is a major component of the ACFTA (ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement) and the trade activities it governs. What's more, an integrated rail network can deliver logistical and cost benefits. The possibilities include not just mixed trains in normal combined transport, but also transports to the same region by different logistics companies for various contractors. There is increasing cooperation between logistics partners, which supports sustainable rail logistics.

Nachhaltige Logistik in Falkenberg- Luftaufnahme der mit Autos beladenen Güterwagons, aus der Automobillogistik.

Employee mobility - on the move with lower emissions. Our goal: 10% reduction in carbon emissions per employee by 2024

Eine junge Frau auf einem Elektrofahrrad, die sinnbildlich für eine Nachhaltige Logistik durch nachhaltige Mobilität steht.

Sustainable mobility means meeting today's mobility needs with long-term green solutions in the future. Above all it's about reducing emissions as well as resource consumption. Also important are optimal development and utilization of local public transport. What's more, green mobility helps improve general standards of living. Reducing noise and exhaust gas emissions also offers health benefits.

To improve sustainability in employee mobility, BLG LOGISTICS aims to reduce carbon emissions per employee by 10% by 2024.  Our focus is on the emissions generated by commutes. We also conduct annual surveys to find out how our employees tackle their personal mobility needs. Based on this data, we have identified various approaches and derived efficient measures that cut costs and simultaneously benefit the climate.

At the same time, we examined climate-damaging emissions generated by our fleet, business trips, shuttle services, commutes, deliveries, and customer traffic.

Ein Automobil, dass an einer Ladesäule geladen wird. Ein Sinnbild für nachhaltige Logistik durch geringe Emissionen.