Transportation has a huge impact on the environment, emitting a significant amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, the transportation sector accounted for 28% of all US greenhouse gas emissions – making it responsible for the biggest proportion of these emissions overall.

Photo by Jim Halpert on Unsplash
Photo by Jim Halpert on Unsplash

Much of this is the result of passenger transportation; however, goods transportation still plays a large role. Consequently, there has been a boost in the popularity of locally-sourced and locally-produced products as a way of reducing the environmental impact of our consumption. Plus, also as a way to support local businesses during the current pandemic. While this does make a difference, it’s clear that international trade and goods transportation is here to stay. As such, we can all agree that it’s important for the industry to make attempts to minimize its negative impacts on the environment and human health. Here are some ways that could be done.

Use cleaner fuel

Whatever method is used to transport goods, it’s important that the fuel powering it has the lowest possible environmental impact. This year the shipping industry finally enacted rules that will limit the amount of sulfur allowed in a ship’s fuel oil – an important step as the bunker fuel ships previously used was one of the dirtiest fuels in the world.

Truck emissions are another area that needs tackling. In the EU, they amount to just 2% of vehicles on the road, but 22% of road transport carbon dioxide emissions. By switching to a more environmentally-friendly fuel such as biodiesel, or using hybrid and electric vehicles instead, hydrocarbon emissions can be greatly reduced.

Of course, there are plenty of other steps the oil and gas industry can take to help make a difference, some as simple as installing an air valve, but each one is important, and cleaner fuel can make a real impact on global emission levels.

Use cleaner transportation methods

In addition to the fuels used, certain methods of transportation tend to be worse for the environment than others. There are a lot of factors that affect this, from the length of the journey to the type of truck, barge, train, or boat used, but generally speaking, transportation by road is considered to be the most damaging method. This is partly due to the fuel and vehicles used, and partly because heavy traffic and delays further increase emissions.

Some of the more eco-friendly ways of transporting goods are thought to be inland water, rail, and ocean shipping. In large cities such as New York and London, some of the greenest methods of transportation are also the most convenient: walking and cycling. When considering the most eco-friendly method for your business, remember to take into account the time taken, miles traveled, and the amount of cargo transported. All of these have an impact on which option is the best one to choose.

Making goods transportation more eco-friendly is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for business. These days customers are keen to see that companies are taking their responsibilities seriously, and having green policies for goods transportation is a great way to do that.