Inland shipping as an option to reduce the footprint of your transport chain

With the advent of new European environmental legislation, businesses must demonstrably reduce their emissions. In particular, the introduction of the carbon tax will provide a financial stimulus to minimize the footprint of your entire transport chain. Many years of data analysis have shown that a partial modal shift to inland shipping can offer a solution. Marius Hakkesteegt, Business Developer Apps & Digitalization at Aspect ICT, explains more, including about the option for a phased transition to inland shipping.

Author: Kristel Beerling

Given all the developments in European environmental legislation, it is becoming increasingly important to improve the sustainability of your transport activities. However, a modal shift has not yet occurred, according to Marius: “There are plenty of examples that show how to analyse the footprint of your road freight, but little is known about inland shipping. Therefore, many people are unaware that inland shipping can contribute to an optimally ‘green’ transport chain. Ultimately, it’s not about whether transport is better by road, water or rail, but about making the entire chain sustainable. We want to bring these different worlds together and show that we need each other. That’s more beneficial for the customer and for the businesses involved. We have some great examples of how inland shipping contributes to that.”

Demonstrable results

“The NPRC, a cooperative of around 150 inland navigation operators who transport dry bulk throughout Europe, has played a key role in these examples. Thanks to their long-standing use of the iBarge app, they have already made great progress in demonstrating their sustainability. Skippers use the app to record when they load and unload, when they sail, how much tonnage they expected to load and actually loaded, the distances sailed and the associated emissions. On the basis of all this concrete data that has been collected over so many years, they can demonstrate that inland shipping offers sustainability benefits, and that it pays off. We will share our joint experiences and data during the Lean & Green Summit 2023 to get companies thinking and to inspire them – so that we can reduce the footprint together.”

ISO 14083-compliant calculations

Nowadays many other inland shippers are also using iBarge, which allows everyone to record data and sustainability calculations in the same way. “By connecting iBarge to BigMile, companies are also assured that the calculations comply with the ISO 14083 standard and are therefore suitable for an auditor’s report,” Marius adds.

“In order to meet the requirements of the upcoming CSRD legislation, shippers must be able to report their CO2 emissions, among other things, throughout the entire supply chain,” states Jan Pronk, Managing Director of BigMile. “This applies to all modalities, including inland shipping. Despite the fragmentation, all the different modalities must be brought together in a single report. Using BigMile, companies can calculate, allocate and report their carbon emissions in accordance with ISO 14083 for all their supply chain and logistics-related activities. The integration of the BigMile Emission API with iBarge makes it very easy for the inland shipping industry to meet their customers’ reporting needs.”

Phased modal shift

“We know from experience that a phased approach works very well for the modal shift towards inland shipping. We’re happy to show companies how they can combine part of their transport activities with inland shipping, so that they can experience how it works and how it contributes to improved sustainability. Above all, we want to motivate businesses by sharing our experiences with them, driven by the goal of a smaller footprint. That will be essential to a company’s future survival,” concludes Marius.

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