HGV’s (or heavy goods vehicles) are an incredibly important part of the supply chain system, as they are responsible for ensuring that all goods, including essentials such as food and medicines, reach the end destination. However, HGV’s have a massive contribution to climate change. It has been reported that 16% of UK domestic transport greenhouse gas emissions were caused by HGVs in 2019.
The difficulty of reducing emissions by HGVs
It can be incredibly difficult to reduce carbon emissions of HGVs as they travel for such long distances and because of their high-power requirements. Road freight also still remains to be one of the most common modes of transport for freight industry, as it is cheap to use and very convenient when travelling shorter distances, such as in country.
Many people still rely heavily on road transport, so this makes it incredibly difficult to stop using this method.
How can we reduce emissions?
One key thing that the freight industry can do in order to reduce emissions, is make more use of other modes of transport, such as rail. Rail freight can be incredibly efficient as railroads are three to four times more fuel efficient than HGVs. Rail transport is also so environmentally friendly because the effect of greenhouse gas emissions per kilometre is 80% less. This can make a significant difference in Britain’s goal to meet its net zero commitment by 2050 if we were to utilise the rail freight option more.
Another way that we can reduce carbon emissions from heavy goods vehicles on the roads is by swapping the actual vehicle to be more economically efficient. Trials and tests have been undertaken in order to test the feasibility of battery-operated vehicles.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has said “Through our bold and ambitious transport decarbonisation plan, we’re leading the way in the transition to zero emission vehicles by becoming the first country in the world to commit to ending the sale of all new fossil-fuelled road vehicles by 2040, subject to consultation.”
Trials in the Future
There are some other trials that are being considered for the future, such as the ‘Electric Road System’ study. This study aims to supply battery-electric HGVs and HDVs with electricity from overhead catenaries. This is via a pantograph enabling trucks to charge dynamically.
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