On July 14, the UK government announced commitments to end the sale of new petrol and diesel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040. Rob Wright, executive director at supply chain and logistics consultancy, SCALA, comments on how this ambitious goal could be achieved and what businesses can do to play their part:
“From an environmental perspective the government’s announcement is positive news, however, for this target to be achieved, commercial innovation will be essential to develop the appropriate trucks, with the government needing to invest in the right infrastructure to facilitate these type of zero emissions vehicles.
“Whilst there are some measures in place to meet overall Net Zero targets, the UK’s progress is very limited and we are well behind the curve for actually achieving them.
“Given this shortfall, an urgent rethink is required, especially as consumers and businesses have been drawn into wanting faster deliveries with greater convenience over recent years. This means that whether drivers are delivering to the home, to retailers, or to businesses, there are understandably more and more deliveries and vehicles out on the road.
“Therefore, to meet this zero emissions HGV target, businesses will need to look at whether these service levels are really required, as well as their associated financial, environmental and human costs. Discussions between suppliers and customers to look at how to optimise deliveries and ensure that when vehicles are on the road that they are fully, and not partly, loaded, are measures that can be taken.
“Similarly, re-looking at and optimising current logistics networks, is a necessary step. There are now opportunities to use double-deck trailers to increase the capacity per load and businesses can also take measures such as ensuring that product packaging is designed for optimal transport.
“And, perhaps most importantly, greater vertical collaboration is needed between manufacturers, their customers and suppliers, but also more difficult horizontal collaboration between companies who may often be competitors. Instead these competitors can work together to share trucks and resources, and this will be a significant step made towards achieving the governments target.”