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Reduce Your Fleet's CO2 Footprint

How delivery planning & route optimisation software can reduce a fleet’s CO2 carbon footprint


Carbon Neutral Parcel Deliveries


How can delivery planning and route optimisation software help to reduce the CO2 emissions of a delivery fleet?

Here are some statistics that show why reducing vehicle emissions are so important.

In 2019 the UK’s CO2 emissions due to transport were 122Mt, 91% of which (111MtCO2e) came from road transport vehicles and of this Heavy Goods Vehicles accounted for 18% (19.5MtCO2e) and Vans 17% (19MtCO2e). HGV’s also accounted for 13% of the UK’s Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The UK Government set one of the world’s most ambitious targets for climate change back in June 2021, aiming to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels.

With the above in mind reducing the emissions from road transport will continue to be a priority and a significant challenge if the UK is to reach net Zero by 2050. Although total greenhouse gases have fallen by 32% between 1990 and 2017 in the UK, emissions due to road transport have increased by 6% over the same period. Road traffic volumes actually increased by 28% between these dates, but the increase in emissions was offset by new regulations on vehicle exhausts and improvements in vehicle efficiency.

Between 1990-2000 fuel accounted for approximately 10% of freight costs, more recently it has been as high as 35%. With the cost of fuel increasing over the past year and likely to continue rising it will remain a significant contributor to the cost of deliveries.

Reducing CO2 emissions of a delivery fleet for environmental reasons is desirable, but there are also big cost savings to be made if the miles per delivery can be reduced and delivery density increased.


Tips to reduce your carbon footprint and CO2 emissions


1) Know your carbon footprint.

It is first important to know what your current carbon footprint is and there are several companies and calculators to help you do this, however, when determining a HGV’s emissions the key variables are:

  • The design and type of vehicle, its maintenance, and tyres.
  • A vehicle’s weight, including payload.
  • Whether it is a temperature-controlled vehicle, as refrigerated vehicles require additional generators to chill the container.
  • The driving style of the driver and speed of the HGV.
  • The fuel used, usually, diesel but alternatives are now starting to be used.

Reduce Your CO2 Today


2) How Delivery Planning can improve vehicle utilisation.

If a delivery vehicle is always going out at full capacity and the route that is planned has deliveries as close together as possible then the mileage per delivery will be at its optimum.

Calculating delivery schedules and the delivery routes can become a difficult task when done manually but by utilising dynamic route optimisation and scheduling software the task can be done quickly and easily. Good scheduling software will also consider all your possible deliveries so that where possible deliveries in similar locations can be made together. Scheduling systems that only consider next day deliveries as selected by a person and calculates routes in daily batches can't do this. 


Route Optimisation Always On vs Batch Info-graphic

3) Improve the driving behaviour of your drivers.

If HGV’s accelerate fast. brake late or idle for long periods of time when loading or unloading, fuel is being wasted and CO2 emissions will be higher.

An intelligent vehicle telematics system can be used with an in-cab audible device to help train drivers and reduce harsh acceleration or braking and warn them when a vehicle is left idling. Incorporating results from vehicle telematics devices into a league table of drivers will also encourage them to improve their driving and when they understand the reasons, they are keen to comply and win that month’s driver’s award for the best driver.


4) Clean Air Zones (CAZ)

Areas of low or ultra-low emissions are becoming more prolific in city centres and companies need to consider which vehicles are chosen for deliveries in these CAZ areas. A good delivery planning solution will select the best vehicle from a company’s fleet to make such a delivery in a Clean Air Zone.


5) Make the move to alternative fuels or electric vehicles.

A fleet can not usually swap to a new fuel type or electric power in one go but will do so as vehicles need replacing. However, additional considerations will need to be taken into account, such as the distance an alternative fuelled vehicle can go before needing to recharge.

The locations and time taken for recharging and the optimal routes to send these alternative fuelled vehicles on, can all be included in an advanced route optimisation and delivery scheduling software. Vehicle Telematics systems can also be used to send information about the state of a vehicle’s battery back to the office enabling available mileage to be monitored.


6) Optimal delivery routes

Does your delivery vehicle take the best route possible and follow the provided route plan, or do your drivers select their own routes?

Route optimisation software will consider the traffic flows and average speed of roads, the time of day and the direction of travel along roads in order to select the most efficient route for your deliveries. But, if the driver does not follow the route then they may be covering more miles and using more fuel. Using route optimisation software that enables delivery schedules to be sent to drivers mobile phones and even provides turn by turn navigation can aid drivers to use the most efficient route.


7) Deliver the first time, every time

Ensuring that each delivery is successful at the first attempt is essential.

If goods need to be returned to base for delivery on a subsequent day this uses more than twice as much fuel and prevents another delivery from being made. Giving accurate delivery ETAs delivering within a narrow time frame will help to ensure that customers are present for their delivery. Good delivery planning and route optimisation software will enable this to happen.


C02 Fleet Efficiency Summary

Dynamic delivery planning and route optimisation software will enable you to deliver more with your existing resources, reducing miles per delivery and provide the tools to monitor your delivery fleet while enabling you to reduce your CO2 emissions.

Contact us for more information on how Descartes’ delivery planning and route optimisation software can help your company reduce its CO2 emissions.