i2live: UPS senior manager on carbon reduction efforts in logistics, highlights intermodal transportation, routing technology to reduce miles driven, idling time and left turns
July 11, 2013
– Devising a route so delivery trucks could avoid left turns may not sound like an obvious way to minimize carbon emissions, but for logistics giant United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), sustainability efforts range from the small to the large, such as helping customers identify the right-sized package for their goods and determining the best routes to lower carbon emissions, said UPS’ Arnold Barlow in a July 10 i2live webinar entitled, “How Logistics is Transforming Sustainability.”
In his presentation, Barlow, the senior manager of sustainability solutions at UPS, highlighted some of the company's measures toward that goal, addressing how customers can work with logistics providers to minimize their environmental impact. Carbon reduction efforts in logistics is the third part of a three-part series also covering packaging and certification.
Barlow highlighted some of UPS’ efforts to minimize carbon—by using routing technology to lower the number of miles driven, idling time, the time waiting at lights, and yes, even avoiding left turns for its fleet of delivery trucks.
“That’s not strictly true, but it is true we minimize making left turns because to make a left turn, you’ve got to wait for the light to change,” Barlow said. “It’s almost more hazardous and with the vehicle not moving, it’s not being productive in terms of making deliveries so we lay out our routes to prefer right turns, to prefer keeping the vehicles moving, so that they can make the maximize number of deliveries.”
Another method to cut down on carbon emissions is to figure out the most energy- and time-efficient mode of transportation for delivering a package using UPS’s network of aircraft, package cars, tractor trailers and rail.
“For example, if you can move something from an airplane on to a truck, moving it by truck instead of airplane means you use one-eighth as much fuel and therefore generate about one-eighth as much carbon … so if your logistics provider has a dense transportation network where they have extensive routes involved on the ground or they have the ability to use rail, you can have significant carbon savings in your (carbon profile) for what your transportation provider is doing.”
UPS also offers customers a way to mitigate their own carbon emissions when using transportation services, including a program that allows customers to pay a small fee to offset the carbon impact of the delivery. Barlow also highlighted a free program, UPS My Choice, which sends an email, voicemail or text message to recipients before the package’s arrival. According to Barlow, send-agains (that is, the second or third attempts to delivery a package) have dropped by 40% because of the program.