Looking through the lens of business value from sustainable energy, the transportation and logistics industry is well positioned to contribute to Sustainable Energy for All. At the heart of most companies’ supply chains, the industry has already been identified as an area to reduce costs and manage risk. Initiatives include increasing the energy efficiency of operations, increasing the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels, and improving the design and capacity of vehicles, aircrafts and vessels through partnerships with manufacturers.
These actions can directly improve profitability through lower fuel costs, higher utilization rates, and faster service for the industry and its customers. Improvements in energy efficiency, especially if they decrease overall reliance on fossil fuels—given the volatility of prices—can also mitigate risks related to supply chain disruptions.
While engine-efficiency technology continues to improve, the growth of the transportation and logistics industry threatens to undermine progress in reducing total energy consumption. For this reason, strategic investments in rail infrastructure and intermodal facilities are required to facilitate a switch from highly energy-intensive modes of transport, such as truck and air, to the more efficient options of rail or ship. Since modal speed improvements tend to be marginal, it is at the intermodal or trans-modal facilities that most of the time and cost benefits are achieved.