Inbound Logistics | June 2021

company Bimbo, and the U.S. Postal Service. It has also provided electric buses to customers ranging from the Sacramento Area Schools to Google’s campus in Mountain View, California. SOURCING FOR SUSTAINABILITY Another tool companies can use to improve sustainability is the request for proposal (RFP). Whether they’re sourcing components and materials, finished products, or transportation services, buyers can set criteria that favor more environmentally friendly solutions, says Alan Holland, founder and CEO of Keelvar Systems, a software provider based in Cork, Ireland. Keelvar provides solutions that optimize and automate sourcing events, letting buyers and sellers reach agreements that accommodate a complex array of needs and constraints.

that range, so there will be no need to recharge during the day. The rollout of all-electric vehicles in Vancouver is a test, meant to help Purolator build a business case for bringing the technology to other locations, and also to determine how well the vehicle’s power requirements match the electrical infrastructure at different locations. Beyond its pickup and delivery operations, Purolator is also exploring all- electric vehicle technology for possible use on the “shunters” that move trailers in its hub facilities, and electric or hydrogen fuel cell technology for long- haul transportation. The five trucks in Vancouver are the first that Motiv has supplied in Canada. In the United States, the company has supplied step vans to AmeriPride Services, Aramark Corporation, bakery

When a company sources transportation, for example, and adds sustainability to its criteria, that creates a new set of data points to consider along with traditional factors, such as on-time performance and cost. A supply chain manager trying to evaluate many tradeoffs for numerous shipments might skip the environmental factors just to keep things simple, Holland says. But an automated solution can quickly analyze data to compare, for example, the carbon cost of using each of three ships leaving the Port of Manila for the Port of Long Beach in a certain period. “If the pricing is similar—and it often is—then a company can bias in favor of the most environmentally friendly option,” Holland says. If the greener solution does cost more, Keelvar’s customers can configure the sourcing optimizer to balance value and expense. “What is the rate of equivalence? Is it $10 per kilogram of CO2, or $50, or $100?” Holland asks. “It’s our customers’ choice. We facilitate that biasing at scale.” About five years ago, many of Keelvar’s customers cared more about cutting costs than cutting emissions, Holland says. But today, between regulatory imperatives and pressure from consumers, many customers now consider sustainability a crucial value. So do many other shippers and supply chain professionals, all of them seeking innovative ways to produce and deliver as much as ever while doing minimal harm to the environment.  n Emissions IQ from C.H. Robinson is a free, self-serve tool that instantly shows a company’s carbon emissions across all forms of transportation globally.

AEROSHARK TESTS THE WATERS Innovative surface technology

from Lufthansa Technik and BASF improves fuel efficiency, thus helping airlines reach their sustainability targets. The lower the frictional resistance of an aircraft in the air, the lower the fuel consumption. Using nature as a role model,

the aviation industry has been intensively researching ways to reduce aerodynamic drag for many years. Now Lufthansa Technik and BASF have made a breakthrough as part of a joint project. Lufthansa will roll out AeroSHARK, a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark’s skin, on its entire freighter fleet starting in 2022, making the aircraft more economical and reducing emissions. The surface structure—consisting of riblets measuring around 50 micrometers (.002 inches)—imitates the properties of sharkskin, optimizing the aerodynamics on flow-related parts of the aircraft. This means that less fuel is needed overall. For Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F freighters, Lufthansa Technik estimates a drag reduction of more than 1%. For the entire fleet of 10 aircraft, this translates to annual savings of around 3,700 tons of kerosene and just under 11,700 tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of 48 individual freight flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai.

June 2021 • Inbound Logistics 39

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