In line with Re:EL (Regional Electrified Logistics) – a year-long Swedish initiative run by Vinnova and aimed at bringing vehicle manufacturers, logistics companies, and energy suppliers together to establish and expand a network to support electric HGV logistics flows – DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks have teamed up to test longer distance road feeder services.
Given the huge number of trucks on the world’s roads each year (Volvo, alone, delivered 94,000 trucks in 2020), and the high emissions compared to other modes of transport, any move to greener road feeder solutions is a big win. The Re:EL initiative runs from NOV20 to DEC21. DHL Freight and Volvo will be starting in MAR21, and trialing fossil-free road feeder deployment between two DHL Freight logistics terminals located in the cities of Gothenburg and Jönköping in Sweden, which are 150 km apart. The trucks will have a charging station onsite at DHL in Jönköping, whereas in Gothenburg, they will recharge at the Volvo Truck Center.
DHL Freight’s sustainability strategy
Uwe Brinks, CEO at DHL Freight, explains: “Our aim is to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero. Important milestones have already been achieved in meeting this: compared to 2007, our Group’s CO2 efficiency has improved by 35%. However, we need innovative technological solutions and strong partnerships along this journey. I’m confident that our strong cooperation with Volvo Trucks, one of the major truck brands in the world, will support us in achieving our ambitious environmental goals in the road freight sector.”
As part of its sustainability strategy and focus on fossil-free technology projects, DHL Freight Sweden has initiated a climate-focused shipping program, whereby customers pay a fixed surcharge for every parcel or pallet shipped. The proceeds go towards investments in clean technologies within the Swedish network.
Volvo goes the distance with DHL Freight
Robert Zander, CEO of DHL Freight Sweden, elaborates. “The logistics sector is facing a huge challenge, which also offers a great opportunity at the same time – the decarbonization of freight transportation. The collaboration with Volvo Trucks helps DHL Freight to play an even bigger role in the transition to sustainable alternatives and is another significant proof point for our long-term strategy towards climate-neutral transportation.”
Speaking for Volvo Trucks, its President, Roger Alm echoes the sentiment: “The transport business is changing rapidly and to be sustainable is an increasingly important business advantage for many of our customers. We offer effective transport solutions that help make a fast transition to fossil-free fuels such as electricity. We have a longstanding relationship with DHL. Their broad and global expertise in logistics allows us to study the conditions to progress with this technology shift, adapting it to customer needs and their type of transport operation. Our commitment is that our entire truck sales range will be fossil-free by 2040 at the latest,” he forecasts.
Gaining experience to global benefit
Until now, electric vehicles have mostly been trialed on short distances usually within a single city. The exclusive, joint pilot premiering a fully electric Volvo FH truck, focuses both on longer distances (of up 150 km) as well as on heavy-duty loads of up to 60 tons. The data gathered will go towards facilitating and accelerating regional implementation across Europe, with regard to optimum charging points, possible operating distances and loads, and establishing a functional charging infrastructure. Volvo Trucks’ expertise focuses on maximum efficiency and seamless transportation and evaluates every necessary aspect in the electrification eco-system from charging to route planning, vehicles, service, and other support.
Driving ahead with fossil-free solutions
Existing green Volvo solutions such as its Volvo FL Electric truck – “the first purpose-built fully electric Volvo truck for city distribution” – are already in place in London, UK, for example, driving for DHL Supply Chain, whilst over in North America, Volvo’s VNR Electric trucks entered the market towards the end of last year, and the company plans to begin marketing its heavy-duty electric product range across Europe this year. Positive developments for a greener future in logistics.
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