Planet – Transport and logistics
Choosing sustainable modes of transport
The transport of raw materials and end products has an important impact on a sector’s sustainability performance.
The chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry opts mainly for environmentally-friendly modes of transport (pipelines, inland waterways, maritime and rail). Road represents less than 30% of transported volumes, while water transport and pipelines are of key importance, accounting respectively for about 30% and over 25% of transported volumes. Rail transport also remains an important transport mode for the sector, as companies currently using trains do not have sufficient truck-handling capacity (loading and unloading stations) on their sites and road transport is not allowed for certain dangerous products.
Moreover, switching to road transport would lead to increased traffic congestion and additional CO2 emissions.
Between 2013 and 2015, the transport of chemicals via pipelines increased by about 5%. Road transport underwent a similar increase over the same period, while water transport remained stable.
Digitalisation, an important trend in logistics management
The industry’s digital transformation is creating tremendous opportunities for improving its logistics performance. Digital technology plays a key role in creating connections, supporting collaboration and enabling extensive information-sharing. It allows companies to exchange forecasts, stock information, delivery schedules and paperwork with customers and suppliers in real time, ahead of product flows. This results in better sourcing, supply chain planning and product management and handling, which ultimately leads to improved delivery reliability, better asset utilisation and increased safety.
According to the World Economic Forum (“DTI initiative”), digitalisation in the supply chain could create USD 40-70 billion of value for the chemicals industry thanks to improved procurement, reduced logistics costs, and increased efficiency in administrative supply chain functions.
The e-ECD project is a concrete example of such digitalisation and collaboration amongst all parties involved in the tank-cleaning process (i.e. chemical companies, logistics service providers and tank-cleaning stations), while the objective of the CargoStream digital platform is to drive horizontal supply chain collaboration among shippers by bundling their transport needs.