‘Decarbonising supply chains to the greatest extent is possible’

JCL Logistics, a Swiss-based company, claims that sustaining a completely decarbonised supply chain is possible. The company implements this strategy in its rail connection between Bremen and southern Germany by using Vectron dual-power locomotives. Additionally, it recently completed a test phase to use electric trucks in last-mile services in collaboration with IKEA.

As a logistics firm engaged with all types of modes (air, ocean, rail and road transport), the fact that it invests in green rail and combined transport is encouraging in terms of rail freight possibilities and sustainability. More and more logistics companies recognise the significance of rail when it comes to achieving environmental goals. Most importantly, they also recognise and gradually trust its strengths and potential as a mode that can efficiently serve national, international and intercontinental transport.

Bremen-Oberpfalz a green route

JCL runs a regular connection between Bremen in the north of Germany and Hof and Neumarkt in the Oberpfalz district of Bavaria. This three weekly roundtrips rail service uses the Vectron Dual Mode locomotives for its trains, which combine diesel and electric locomotives characteristics. Moreover, by using renewable power sources, JCL claims to be “100 per cent CO2-neutral” in this route.

The Swiss logistics provider is not the only one using such technologies with a focus on green transport. However, its case could illustrate how the rail freight sector could implement such schemes and how global logistics specialists could turn to sustainable rail solutions due to customer demand.

Electrified last-mile services

In collaboration with IKEA, JCL tested another green solution: using fully electric trucks to distribute products to customers. The Citroën e-Jumper truck that the companies used during the test phase weighs four tonnes has a loading capacity of 965 kilograms and a driving range of 200 kilometres. According to JCL, it is “effective for orders in urban delivery areas”. Imagine a future where long-distance and first and last-mile transport operations could use fully electrified vehicles of all types and green energy sources. Then combined transport would arguably be the optimal transport solution.

As for the fact that corporations like IKEA test such solutions, it is a very positive indication. IKEA, however, has a history of exploring green transport. For instance, in Spain, the company has turned to rail freight to transport products between the port of Barcelona and the Tarragona terminal. In collaboration with Maersk, the home furnishing products powerhouse decided to switch from road to rail for a distance of 100 kilometres. The route concerns trips to and from its customer warehouse & distribution centre in Valls, Catalonia. The home furnishing products company decided to use rail, even for such a short distance, since its goal is to “ become climate positive by 2030”.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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