From one of the world’s largest SAF contracts over in the Americas to a serious start on a bio-gas station network in Germany to support its growing fleet of green trucks: DHL Express and DHL are busy putting the group’s sustainability strategy into action.
DHL Group has set out its strategy with the aim of ensuring zero emission logistics by 2050. One subset milestone is to reduce the group’s annual Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions to less than 29 million tons of CO2e by 2030.
Green for a year
In a significant step towards that milestone, DHL Express recently signed what (according to its release) is “one of the longest and most comprehensive SAFx agreements in aviation history.” It has entered into a 7-year partnership (i.e. until 2030) with World Energy “to accelerate decarbonization of aviation through Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificates”. In total, World Energy will provide 668 million liters of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to replace fossil aviation fuel and thus enable a lifecycle basis reduction of around 1.7 million tons of CO2e for DHL. A figure that is “equivalent to carbon neutral operations of DHL's aviation network in the Americas for one year”.
Committed and honored
Speaking at the signing, John Pearson, CEO DHL Express, said: “DHL Express is committed to pioneering a sustainable future in aviation logistics. By partnering with World Energy and confirming this milestone, we are taking another concrete step towards minimizing our carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future. We want to inspire more suppliers to accelerate industry-wide production and adoption of SAF.”
Gene Gebolys, CEO of World Energy, stated: “We are honored to work with DHL to decarbonize aviation. Decarbonizing the most challenging industries requires commitment across the entire value chain. Partnerships like the ones we are launching today are key to enabling companies like DHL to achieve their ambitious climate goals.”
Americas behind European counterparts
“Decarbonizing aviation will take all parts of the value chain working together at the same time, in the same direction. It's not something corporations or airlines can do on their own,” World Energy stated on its LinkedIn page, in response to a Bloomberg article How United and Other US Airlines Lost Momentum on Sustainable Jet Fuel earlier this month, which laments the fact that though American carriers are increasingly talking a great deal about SAF, they “are far behind their European counterparts in implementing this climate fix.” European carriers are further ahead because they are readier to absorb the higher SAF costs, sharing the burden with their customers (as DHL Express is doing with its Go Green Plus service). SAF needs traction in order to increase production. The article also highlights the saddening and surprising fact that, for the past 7 years, World Energy LLC’s San Gabriel Mountains refinery (supplying Los Angeles airport) was the sole provider of SAF in the States. Only in May of this year, did a competitor (Montana Renewables) come onto the scene together with Shell, immediately propelling itself into first position as “the largest SAF producer in North America.” However, until American airlines step up and truly put their money where their mouth is, adoption will continue to lag.
Back to Europe
Back in more sustainably successful Europe, DHL announced another green strategy milestone – this time concerning its road feeder operations in Germany. Here, it is creating its own filling station network to complement the public network and ensure that its growing fleet of bio-gas powered trucks has access to the necessary infrastructure. Bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) is the focus of the partnership with Germany’s market leader in this kind of fuel: OG Clean Fuels. The provider uses waste and residual materials to produce the climate-friendly fuel. By the end of 2024, an initial eleven filling stations will have been set up at selected DHL parcel centers in the group’s Post & Parcel Germany division. The first already went into operation at the end of SRP23, at the parcel center in Greven (North Rhine-Westphalia), and a second followed in Osterweddingen (Saxony-Anhalt) earlier this month.
170 to 360 by the end of 2023
While the gas stations will be completed by 2024, the CNG truck fleet is set for record growth. DHL currently operates 170 gas-powered trucks (alongside 13 electric trucks in Berlin – here the technology is not yet as mature as CNG), and this is set to increase to 360 already by the end of this year. Each CNG truck has a tank capacity of between 120 and 180 kilograms, allowing it to cover between 500 to 700 kilometers. Refueling takes a mere ten minutes.
Marc Hitschfeld, Chief Production Officer of the Post & Parcel Germany division, explained: “We also rely on sustainable vehicles in the truck sector. Naturally, we also need the appropriate filling station infrastructure for our soon-to-be 360 strong gas truck fleet. Since public filling stations are often not available, we are building our own network to meet our needs,” saying that the group was very pleased to have a proven alternative fuels expert as its partner in the endeavor: OG Clean Fuels.
Johan Bloemsma, Germany boss of OG Clean Fuels, agreed: “We are pleased that we were able to win DHL, one of the most important logistics companies, as a customer and for climate-friendly propulsion with bio-CNG. With our current network of around 125 CNG filling stations throughout In Germany, we have set a particular focus on the transport and logistics industry. The know-how we have acquired here also benefits DHL.”
2050 is just 26 years away. What will have gone greener first? Road or Air?
We welcome and publish comments from all authenticated users.