CO2 Emissions in the Freight Industry

A freight train moving through nature

CO2 Emissions in the Freight Industry and Making Freight Shipping Green

It’s no secret that the freight industry is one of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions. Data shows that in 2018, the (road) freight industry alone was contributing around 9% to the global CO2 emissions

The problem

Of that 9%, the USA was the top contributor at 18%, followed by China (15%), Europe (12%), and India (6%). That’s 51% of the total road freight-generated emissions generated by only the top four contributors. The rest of the world is responsible for the other 49% of emissions.

The industry goal is to keep global warming within a 2-degree limit by 2050 – per the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. That means that along with transitioning to electric trucks for local shipments, the industry will also be moving away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable solutions. Unfortunately, the freight industry falls into the harder-to-abate sector which means that the industry infrastructure is more difficult to bring in line with the necessary requirements for lowering emissions.

In fact, if the current trend continues, the emissions produced by the freight industry could increase by as much as 60% by 2050. This trend, naturally, is at odds with the aim to keep global warming within the intended limit. 

The industry is experiencing tremendous pressure at the moment from consumers as well as investors due to the fact that climate change is ranking (thankfully) higher and higher on the corporate priority list. Despite all this, the changes necessary to achieve our goals will come more slowly and with greater effort than in other sectors.

The solutions

This is why it’s necessary to take steps immediately in any way possible. At Freightera, one of our main focuses is to make freight shipping greener. As we mentioned, if the current trend continues, the emissions within the industry will increase, and they will increase substantially. 

That is why we’re constantly adding and promoting lower emission carriers as well as automating the shipping process as much as possible which helps reduce power and resource consumption. 

What you can do if you’re looking to ship freight in a green and sustainable way is:

  1. Get freight quotes at Freightera
  2. Make sure to look out for the reduced emissions badge during your quoting process on our website. 
  3. Book your shipment in seconds!

Screenshot of the Freightera CO2 emissions reduction badge

The badge shows you the reduction in pollution by your preferred carrier compared to the industry standard as can be seen on the screenshot below. 

You may also want to keep in mind that rail carriers generally emit fewer greenhouse gasses than trucks due to the amount of cargo they can transport in one sitting.

The next best thing when it comes to road transport might be consolidator carriers. These carriers are slow, but due to the nature of their business model, they are relatively green considering the industry they’re in. Consolidators will wait until they have enough cargo to fill up an entire truck before they get moving. That means that your shipment might move (quite a bit) more slowly, but it will do so with a lower carbon footprint. 

Aside from those two options, the badge on our website will be your best indicator of how well the carriers you’re using are doing as far as contributing to emission reduction. 

Learn more about the current trends in green energy and the circular economy in North America.


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