The word “Sustainability” is gaining increasing importance in the global agenda and in the international debates on economic growth and development. Sustainability, however, does not concern just agricultural, manufacturing, energy and building companies. Logistics companies, too, are becoming increasingly sensitive to this thematic. But what is exactly sustainable logistics? What its main challanges? In particular, what are the challenges faced by the logistics sector in Italy? Daniele Testi, Chairman of SOS-Log (Association for Sustainable Logistics), answered to these and other questions.
This interview was made and published in December 2016 on Dossier-Unione Europea, a magazine realized and distributed by SRM (Associazione Studi e Ricerche per il Mezzogiorno – http://www.sr-m.it/cp/dossier-ue/). Published on www.lteconomy.it on 17th March 2017
- Train and road transport should collaborate more. Freight in Italy is dominated by road transport, a mode also used on non-cost-effective routes. A greater use of trains could bring substantial benefits. It is a very reliable mode of transport (hardly behind schedule), efficient (with lower energy costs per ton on medium-long distances) and with high industrial capacity (the number of exogenous variables to take into account on the scheduling process is lower compared to road transport). Recently, Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport has planned major investments in the whole national railway infrastructure. However, the great potential of trains will be evident only when they are seen as complementary (rather than competing) modes of transport.
- Then It is necessary to increase the efficiency of road transport. An important step in this direction is the use of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). It is less expensive as well as less polluting (in terms of CO2, NOx and especially thin powder) compared to diesel. Compared to diesel, the use LNG improves the well-being of people. It improves the quality of things as well: several studies show that CO2 and particulates are a lethal mixture not only for our lungs but also for the cement of our homes and other buildings. Now, I’m pleased to say that Italy’s government has finally decided to encourage the use of LNG-powered trucks: more LNG distributors (without which an actual development of LNG is unthinkable) will be built. Currently there are 6 LNG distributors, and this number is set to double by next year. Huge improvements in the logistics process can be also achieved with the support of new digital technologies. Today the expressions Physical Internet and Artificial Intelligence are gaining momentum: these are those innovations which allow goods to be transported more intelligently; they optimize the use of fleet, routes and thus drastically reduce empty trips that, still today, are estimated to account for more than 25% of the total.
- Urban logistics. Today, there are significant steps towards electric-powered vehicles and the “sharing economy”, as well as proximity distribution which have a lower environmental impact.