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A Collective Responsibility to Switch to Fossil-Free Cargo Transport

The Swedish Parliament has decided that carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector in Sweden should be decreased by 70 per cent from the 2010 figure by 2030. Against this background, shipment purchasers were invited to listen to what IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Triple F, Volvo, Scania, DHL, Gasum and Fordons Gas believe is the way going forward and learn about their approach to how we can switch to fossil-free cargo transport on roads.

Linda Styhre, researcher and project manager at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute presented IVL's perspective on shipment purchasing and how we can proceed together towards more sustainable transport.

A Collective Responsibility

In response to the question of who needs to take the next step in order to switch to fossil-free cargo transport, Linda Styhre is quick answer that it is a collective responsibility, she continues:

"Purchasers of shipments must make greater demands and take the opportunity to purchase sustainablelindastyhre_kopia_0.jpg transport. However, freight carriers and forwarding companies must also make a greater effort in this regard and try to see the business opportunities. The politicians also have a very important role when the market does not resolve the situation without political decisions. But a category that we must not miss is private individuals and their awareness that must be increased in order to contribute to a change. I think this will happen in the near future."

Against the background of it being primarily shipment purchasers who were invited to the seminar, Linda stresses that the purchasers and freight carriers alike must see a business opportunity in using fossil-free cargo transport on the roads, which is, of course, a cost issue. Linda believes that if there is an increased and express demand from end customers, it will result in shipment purchasers seeing the business opportunity. 

Janina Gröhn, who works with sustainable transport at DHL was also present during the event. During her presentation, she explained the example that when the end customer orders a shipment from DHL, they have the option of choosing to 'Send green'. This is, as Linda Styhre expresses it, a way to get the end customers to become more conscious that they have a choice and thus influence development toward sustainable transport. Janina Gröhn also believes that DHL and other freight carriers need to invite their customers so that they become even more participatory, which in turn leads to the freight carriers seeing the commercial benefit and considering investment in new technology and thus the end customers can get involved and reduce the economic risks, which will contribute to the conversion of the transport sector.

"In order to achieve the environmental goals that we established by 2030, we need to become a society that is more frugal with respect to shipping instead of focussing strictly on improving energy efficiency and switching fuels," continues Linda Styhre. The greatest challenge is that the number of shipments is increasing and consumption is greater than ever before.

How do we achieve fossil-free transport on the roads?

Mats Franzén, ICE Powertrain Strategy Director at Volvo Trucks presented Volvo's approach to achieving global environmental goals. Volvo Trucks sees electric lorries, among other things, as the solution for in and around city centres. He also describes the importance of the very efficient gas motor based on diesel technology that can be operated on the green alternative, liquid biogas, which he considers to be the way going forward for long-distance and heavy transport, primarily in Sweden but eventually also internationally. 

"Liquid biogas is not entirely fossil-free, but it also utilises waste that would have otherwise impacted our environment negatively," says Mats Franzén. "Moreover, there is so much biogas in Sweden that we should really make use of it," says Mats Franzén.

"For long transports where a lot of fuel is consumed, it is important that a change from diesel to franzen_superliten_2.jpgrenewable fuels like liquid biogas takes place soon. Our solutions are liquid biogas and HVO. Of course, there is an infrastructure issue, but the vehicles are now available and there are many biogas stations already in place and the numbers are increasing. So now it is a matter of the cars being purchased and used," concludes Mats Franzén. 

Joar Turesson, Head of Democenter Scania Sverige, explains that Scania's approach is to ensure that there are as many fossil-free alternatives for customers as possible and also foresees electrification coming on strong for long-distance transport as well.

"Now we're making progress, and both Volvo Trucks and Scania are on board, and with the amount of biogas fuel stations available today or which will soon be built, there is only one obstacle and shipment purchasers should be willing to extend contractual periods and increase demand," says Urban Wall, Senior Sales & Market Developer at FordonsGas Sverige AB.

A common thread of all of the presentations during this seminar is that there is a collective responsibility among all parties involved to achieve the the established climate goals by 2030. There is also a consensus that the conditions are now in place for shipment purchasers to be able to choose fossil-free cargo transport going forward!

Facts about Western Sweden's arena for liquid biogas
Western Sweden's arena for liquid biogas is a collaborative project between the business sector, academics and society, which is led by the national arena for collaboration and transport efficiency, CLOSER at Lindholmen Science Park.
Purpose: The main purpose of the project is to develop and spread knowledge about LBG as a vehicle fuel for heavy lorry transport by coordinating and analysing the various activities taking place in Västra Götaland.
Time frame: The project time frame is 01/08/2018 to 31/12/2021.
Project participants:  Biogas Väst, Chalmers Technical University, CLOSER, Fordonsgas, Gasum, IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet, Volvo Trucks, Region of Västra Götaland.