Sustainability / Reading time: ~ 3 Min.

For Future-proof Logistics: Decarbonization in All Links of the Supply Chain

DHL Freight and the DHL Group share the ambitious goal of reducing all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050. We at DHL Freight want to raise awareness of the need for decarbonization among our partners – and work together with them to realize it along the entire supply chain. We actively support you as our subcontractors in minimizing the emissions of your fleets in a sustained manner.

Decarbonization Is a Key Challenge for Logistics.

Logistics and transportation are the backbone of the modern global economy. Every bottleneck in the supply chain reminds us of this. As the economic importance of logistics grows, so does its contribution to global emissions. According to one study, at least 5.5% of global CO2 emissions are directly attributable to logistics processes.

Logistics companies, whether large or small, regional or global, should recognize their growing environmental responsibility. Thus, it is essential to assess one’s CO2 output and identify potential savings to reduce pollutant emissions and conserve resources. Through new and innovative approaches, logistics can make an important contribution to the environmental sustainability of the entire economic system.

How DHL Freight Meets Its Responsibilities

Achieving zero emissions by 2050 is the overarching goal we are working toward step by step. By 2030, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint by 30% compared to 2019. In absolute terms, this means improving our emissions balance by 1.2 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents.

We employ digital tools to optimize delivery schedules and route planning. Intelligent solutions help us make delivery more efficient and sustainable.

One of the most effective levers for reducing road freight emissions is, of course, propulsion technology. To reduce CO2-equivalents by 30% by 2030, we need about 6,000 environmentally friendly trucks. In addition to (bio) CNG, (bio) LNG, and HVO drive systems, electromobility plays an important role. To optimize the operation of electric trucks, DHL Freight is working on setting up its own charging infrastructure. We are also running pilot projects with hydrogen-powered trucks, in line with our strategy of being open to different new technologies.

Transition to Sustainable Drive Technologies

It is possible to optimize diesel trucks ecologically, such as speed limiters, low-rolling-resistance tires, telematics systems, aerodynamic trailers, or shutting down in neutral. Efficiently reducing greenhouse gases, however, requires future-oriented and, above all, zero-emission drive technologies. Low-emission fuels such as (bio) LNG, (bio) CNG and HVO represent a promising interim solution, as these alternative fuels can reduce emissions in the short term. However only electric and hydrogen vehicles emit no direct pollutants and are therefore considered zero-emission vehicles.

These zero-emission vehicles will help us advance the decarbonization of road freight. Although the availability of electric and hydrogen trucks and the charging infrastructure are currently limited, we strongly believe that these two technologies must be prioritized and the course must be set for their implementation, also because of various political regulations at EU level.

These political requirements include the CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, with which the EU Commission intends to limit the CO2 emissions of trucks through so-called fleet limits. This means that manufacturers must reduce the average CO2 emissions of new trucks by 45% by 2030, 65% by 2035, and 90% by 2040. Although alternative fuels are not completely excluded from the specifications, it does imply that direct-emission-free trucks powered by electricity or hydrogen will make up an increasing proportion of manufacturers’ product ranges and, over time, displace internal combustion engines.

Funding Programs for Decarbonization

To promote the introduction of zero-emission trucks, there are various funding opportunities in European countries to bridge the price gap between diesel and sustainable trucks.

To boost decarbonization on a large scale, the EU Commission launched the EU Innovation Fund in 2023. With a budget of four billion euros, the fund supports innovative decarbonization technologies. It promotes not only the development but also the deployment of sustainable technologies. National support programs for purchasing environmentally friendly commercial vehicles in most EU member states also contribute to this. We will be happy to assist you in finding suitable funding sources.

DHL Freight Supports Subcontractors and Carriers on Their Way to Greater Sustainability

We look forward to your support – and to growing sustainably together with our service partners. The other way around, you can always count on us to provide the help you need to make your processes more sustainable. We can assist you with technological issues – such as electrification and charging infrastructure – as well as administrative aspects, particularly regarding the various subsidy programs, and we can help carriers secure discounts from fuel suppliers. The investments in the future made by each individual market participant will reduce greenhouse gases in European and global transport logistics. Let‘s consider the big picture together.

Sustainable business partners of DHL Freight can be certified as Green Carriers. The Green Carrier certification program for DHL service partners creates transparency about sustainability efforts and progress.

This transparency benefits both parties. DHL Freight can better track and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate the development of sustainable solutions. And you, as our service partner, can not only improve your own carbon footprint, but also use the certificate for marketing purposes and position yourself as an environmental pioneer. Moreover, the Green Carrier program allows us to match the service offerings of subcontractors with customer requirements that explicitly request environmentally friendly solutions.


Implementing Decarbonization Together

We want to work in partnership to make joint progress towards greener logistics. Our customers can help us by choosing sustainable transport and shipping alternatives of DHL Freight’s GoGreen Plus services. For our carriers and subcontractors, the benefits are mutual: you help reduce emissions throughout the supply chain, and we help you switch to greener drive technology.

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