Volvo Cars is significantly cutting CO2 emissions in its logistics operations by switching transports between its manufacturing plants and new car depots from trucks to trains.
Especially in Europe, where trucks are still ubiquitous in transporting new cars to distribution depots and dealerships in individual markets, the company is in the process of reducing emissions by replacing more and more transports by trucks with rail transport.
For example, by implementing rail transport it reduced CO2 emissions by almost 75% on the route between its Ghent, Belgium-based manufacturing plant and a purpose-built depot in northern Italy. On another route, from Ghent to a second depot in Austria, emissions were cut by almost half since switching to rail transports.
Both initiatives form part of the climate action plan that Volvo Cars revealed this year. Under the plan, the company aims to reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint per car by 40% between 2018 and 2025, which will require a 25% reduction in operational emissions, including logistics. The 2025 plan is one tangible step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition of becoming a climate-neutral company by 2040.
When we said we planned to significantly reduce emissions across all our operations, we meant it. Our logistics network is just one piece of that puzzle, but an important one nevertheless. This is one example of our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment through meaningful, concrete steps.—Javier Varela, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics at Volvo Cars
Volvo Cars is also looking to use rail transport at a wider scale in China and the United States. Already now, cars are transported from its China-based manufacturing plants to the Ghent port in Belgium by train two times a week. Other train connections deliver new Volvo cars to regional depots within China and in Russia.
In the US, the company’s Charleston, South Carolina-based manufacturing plant has tapped into a well-established rail cargo network taking new cars to depots in cities across North America. These trains already replace the equivalent of dozens of trucks per week, a number likely to increase once the next generation XC90 goes into production.
Volvo Cars’ 2040 ambitions go beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification, as it realizes that electrification is not enough to reduce its impact on the environment. Therefore it also looks at tackling carbon emissions across the board: in its manufacturing network, its wider operations, its supply chain and through recycling and reuse of materials.