The shipping industry is facing many rapid changes in the near future. We’ve seen prototypes of driverless trucks, but those won’t be common on the road for years. But many shipping companies are already making drastic changes to address climate change. New studies on the effects of climate change over the last decade have prompted authorities to take measures for reducing the carbon footprint in all industries, including the shipping industry.
These measures go from green practices recommendations for shipping companies and their drivers to new regulations meant to minimize the impact of trucks on the environment. For example, in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new set of fuel economy regulations that should be fully implemented by 2018, requiring fleet-wide modifications for many shipping providers.
They are performance-based standards, so they grant shipping companies the freedom to combine technologies as they wish to meet the imposed emissions levels. The deadline for full compliance with the new regulations is 2021.
Right now, trucking is far from the green industry the authorities are hoping for, and getting there will not be easy. Every day, thousands of trucks cover countless miles, consume massive amounts of fuel and oil, and pollute the air with CO2. While efforts are being made to limit these emissions, the shipping industry will face numerous challenges in the years to come.
Speedbumps on the Road to Green Shipping
Some environmental regulations add fuel taxes to incentivize lower consumption. Fuel prices and taxes have already risen over the years, and volatility in the world market causes the price to fluctuate. Because of this, companies are seeking more fuel efficient engines, but they have yet to meet performance standards. Biofuels have been rather disappointing in terms of efficiency as well.
Assuming that the problems with fuel-efficient engines and biofuels will be solved, transportation industry leaders warn that equipment modifications to allow the use of biofuel are prohibitively expensive. In fact, everything suggests that aggressive efforts to go green bring about huge operating costs, reduce service efficiency, and can drive shipping companies to bankruptcy.
Even so, there are simple but effective measures shipping companies and their drivers can take to protect the environment, some of the most accessible being listed below.
How Truck Drivers Can Help Protect the Environment
- Driving at lower speeds – If drivers reduce the speed by as little as five miles per hour, they can significantly lower their truck’s emissions. Driving slower also decreases the risk for accidents and lowers fuel consumption.
- Driving with fuel efficiency in mind – By shifting speeds progressively and taking their time when starting and stopping their trucks, drivers can lower fuel consumption by 5 to 10%.
- Rethinking cabin comfort – Drivers who sleep in their cabins should use truck stop electrification whenever available for heating and cooling, rather than rely on diesel.
How Shipping Companies Can Help Protect the Environment
- Streamlining logistics and invoicing – Sometimes, outsourcing certain services is preferable to paying several employees to do the job. It also helps the shipping company save resources, avoid paperwork, work more efficiently, and land more jobs.
- Improving fuel technology and efficiency – Alternative fuels, hybrid technology, better route planning, and less aggressive driving practices are just a few solutions to lower fuel consumption.
- Truck maintenance – By investing in new technologies, like computer controlled engines and various radio or heating and cooling innovations, and keeping their truck fleet well-maintained, shipping companies can lower operating costs and improve fuel efficiency.
- Equipment changes – Aerodynamic panels, wide base tires, low viscosity lubricants, exhaust system upgrades, eco flaps, APUs (auxiliary power units), speed limitations, liquid natural gas powering or electric forklifts are just some of the changes shipping companies can perform to lower operating costs and their trucks’ impact on the environment.
Unfortunately, these changes may impact shipping rates now and in the near future as shippers offset high costs by raising prices. At FreightorGator, we can help you find and book LTL shipments directly from the shipping partners, skipping the overhead costs and middleman. Request a quote now, and experience the future of shipping!