DHL, Schneider Electric Unveil Shipping Model to Reduce Scope 3 Emissions

DHL airplane taking off

(Credit: DHL)

by | Feb 5, 2024

DHL Global Forwarding and Schneider Electric have partnered to develop a multi-modal shipping model, expected to reduce emissions by 40% compared to normal air shipping fulfillment routes.

The two new shipping routes, one between North America and Singapore and the other between India and North America, combine sea and air travel and incorporate the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The partnership explored how the multi-modal shipping lanes may reduce Scope 3 emissions, or indirect emissions caused along a company’s value chain, and the companies began a pilot in March 2023 that reduced these emissions by about 20%. DHL’s SAF from its GoGreen Plus service was incorporated along the new routes and reportedly allows deliveries to generate up to 90% less carbon emissions.

“Through our GoGreen Plus service, we provide our customers with sustainable transport solutions, including SAF,” said Thomas George, chief commercial officer of DHL Global Forwarding. “Our partnership with Schneider Electric is instrumental in driving positive change and making sustainable logistics a reality. At DHL, we have set a goal to reduce GHG emissions to 29 million tons CO2 by 2030.”

Multi-modal shipping is typically used to support business continuity in the supply chain industry, but the companies claim that it may be adopted as a business-as-usual process for reducing Scope 3 emissions. In addition to the two new routes, Schneider Electric will reportedly design and execute eight global multi-modal routes with its logistics partners to help forward their decarbonization strategies.

Increased Use of Sea Freight May Cut Costs While Reducing Supply Chain Emissions

DHL and Schneider Electric explain that air freight emits more carbon than sea freight, yet air freight remains the more widely-used, core transportation mode for global supply chain delivery.

The development of SAF has offered a potential decarbonization strategy for air freight, but it is not yet produced at scale, supply is currently limited, and costs remain high compared to conventional jet fuel. Alternative fuels for sea freight face a similar situation, but the use of maritime shipping may still save companies money while causing significantly lower emissions. DHL and Schneider Electric assert that these cost savings may be translated into SAF purchases for clean air freight transportation once the fuel is more widely available.

Some companies have already implemented the use of sea freight as a decarbonization strategy. For example, Amazon recently announced that it dramatically increased its rail and sea transportation in 2023, allowing for an emissions reduction of nearly 50%.

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