Supply chains to use more sea and rail links, EC says

29 March 2011

29 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark

The European Commission has adopted a policy that says half long-distance road freight should be shifted to other modes of transport by 2050.

In a whitepaper, the EC sets out its plan for meeting transport carbon emission targets, which involve altering supply chains.

Where new technologies alone are not enough to reduce emissions from road freight, distribution organisations must move more goods via water or rail links for distances of more than 300km.

Commission vice president Siim Kallas, who is responsible for transport, stressed the importance of Europe increasing mobility and cutting emissions. “We can and we must do both,” he said. “The widely held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true. Curbing mobility is not an option; neither is business as usual. We can break the transport system’s dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. It can be win–win.”

Meanwhile, petro-chemical giant Shell has spelled out the challenges in transferring to an economy with a low demand for oil, one of the key commodities driving the supply chain.

“Heightened collaboration between civil society and the public and private sectors is vital if we want to address economic, energy and environmental challenges,” said Shell’s chief executive Peter Voser.

A Shell report points out that energy demand could triple by 2050, from its 2000 level. It found that although demand could be moderated by 20 per cent with greater efficiency, and supply increased by about 50 per cent with geological and technical advances, there was still a huge gap between the two.

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