DHL invests in all-green distribution fleet
Around 250 delivery vehicles to be converted to environmentally-friendly alternative fuelsStockholm, 03/10/2008, 10:30 AM CET
Already environmentally certified, DHL is taking a further important step in its efforts to create a better environment. This follows its recent decision to convert all its diesel-powered delivery vehicles to run on alterative fuels. In all, just over 200 of DHL’s own vehicles are affected. The company has also agreed to cover the additional cost of another 50 vehicles when any of the forwarders contracted to DHL switches to an environmentally friendly alternative.
DHL Express (Sweden) currently has around 20 biogas-powered vehicles available, including 5 heavy trucks and 15 delivery vans used mainly to transport express shipments within metropolitan areas. The number of environmentally friendly vehicles is about to increase substantially. This follows the recent decision by DHL Express to convert all its own diesel-powered delivery vans over the next three years to run on alternative fuels such as biogas, natural gas and ethanol.
We practice what we preach
“Every year we use the Swedish TKM model (the freight forwarders quality and environmental manual) to evaluate the 300 carriers contracted to DHL in this country. Given that we place these requirements on other carriers, it is only natural for us to practice what we preach. That is why the transition to delivery vehicles that run on alternative fuels seems like an obvious investment”, says Peter Hesslin, Operations Manager for DHL Express, responsible for handling goods up to 2.5 tons at around 30 terminals in Sweden, from Malmö in the south to Luleå in the north.
The plan is for DHL Express to swap out its own diesel-powered vehicles as their leases expire. In purely financial terms, this means that DHL Express will be investing up to 30 000 kronor for every vehicle exchanged; with its own fleet of around 200 delivery vans and 50 contractor-owned vehicles, this adds up to an investment of 7.5 million kronor.
According to DHL’s own calculations, the use of delivery vehicles that run on alternative fuels means a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 5–8 tons per vehicle per year. As the investment covers about 250 vehicles, this is equivalent to a total carbon dioxide reduction of around 2 000 tons per year.
Vehicles do not just minimize emissions but are also safer
“Over the last five-year period, we have systematically invested in vehicles that use alternative fuels. But is it only recently that we have started to see vehicles that do not just minimize emissions but are also safer and improve our drivers’ working environment. That is why it seems like just the right time to invest in this kind of vehicle”, continues Hesslin.
Another major environmental effect of this investment concerns emissions of particulates and nitric oxide associated with jams in city centers. This is because particulate emissions from vehicles that run on alternative fuels are much reduced.
But the investment covers not only DHL’s own vehicles but also diesel-powered distribution vehicles operated by the 300 forwarders contracted to DHL in Sweden. In this area, DHL is covering the additional cost of the transition to environmentally-adapted vehicles.
Our environmental efforts
“We assess our forwarders every year from an environmental as well as a quality standpoint. Now we are hoping that they will be even more motivated to use vehicles that run on alternative fuels. But this is just one more important step in our environmental efforts. Another major step was taken recently when we decided to carbon-offset all parcels sent by private individuals via DHL SERVICEPOINT”, says Hesslin.
At DHL’s so-called transport day last year, it was agreed that by mid-year, forwarders contracted to DHL would swap around 50 diesel-powered delivery vehicles for vehicles running on alternative fuels. DHL will bear the additional cost that this entails.
DHL-affiliated forwarders that already use vehicles that run on alternative fuels include GB Framåt, Widrikssons Åkeri, Harplinge Åkeri, Västra Götaland Transport and Ågesta Transport.