IX. Freight systems efficiently combine different low-carbon modes, share capacities,
and rely on sustainable first and last mile delivery.

A freight system’s capacity to connect goods, markets and consumers determines the socio-economic development of countries and regions; and it is closely linked with industry and trade policies. For long-distance freight, modes of high and shared capacity are to be prioritized to bring down energy consumption per unit. Policies must encourage the use of the most efficient low-carbon energy carrier, and an efficient integration of operations across modes and borders. As transport will have to cater for the arising needs of an industry 4.0, investments in smart logistics should now be aligned with sustainable, low-carbon transport. 

First and last mile delivery has the biggest potential to reduce energy-consumption, cost and overall the negative effects of transport, particularly in urban environments. Smart logistic operations and low-emission light vehicles that consume little space are to become the new normal of urban deliveries.

Facts and figures

Pledges to decarbonise value chains: For example, the CDP Supply Chain program, representing 115 members, reported the avoidance of 633 Mt CO2eq and USD 19.3 billion in supplier annual monetary savings. (Read more: CDP)

Emissions per tonne-kilometre: In comparison, aviation freight emits highly 500 to 1,000 g CO2eq per tonne kilometre, maritime transport emits around 5 to 30 g CO2eq per tonne kilometre. (Read more: CLECAT)

Catalytic measures

  • Set mode share targets for biking and walking, public transport, and rail
  • Invest in affordable and decarbonised public transport and level of service
  • Use digital tools for enhanced usability of transport services
  • Allocate more safe space to walking and biking
  • Manage and price parking (e.g. on street charges, workplace levies, parking maximums, pavement parking bans)
  • Regulate urban access to city centres (e.g. zero emission zones in city centers, access based on emissions)
  • Define trajectories to phase out ICE vehicles sales, production, and use
  • Price CO2 and integrate the transport sector to emission trading schemes
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies (e.g. diesel privileges)
  • Label modes, vehicles and products to provide users with info on carbon-intensity on point of purchase and use
  • Invest in low-carbon rail freight service
  • Invest in inland waterways connectivity and level of service
  • Mandate eco-driving training programs for commercial drivers
  • Develop shared urban logistics platforms
  • Apply mandates for urban cargo-bike delivery
  • Enable and mandate off-peak-hour delivery
  • Strengthen and facilitate legal and operational conditions for intermodal freight
  • Plan integrated and connected Industrial Zones
  • Optimise freight movement through proven measures (e.g. promote load optimisation, reduce packaging, reduce empty moves, load consolidation and asset sharing, vehicle maintenance practices, aerodynamic requirements, etc.)
  • Legal mandates for new Zero Emission Vehicles
  • Promote the integration of electric charging and distributed and off-grid renewable energy production
  • Promote the restructuring of supply chains to reduce freight transport (e.g. nearshoring)
  • Promote the optimization of intermodal solutions: e.g. better integration between road, rail and inland waterways to reduce GHG and increase efficiency (synchromodal, digitalization, etc.)