The logistics sector is in flux. The backbone of many successful industries- the cold chain- is being shaped by internal factors such as increasing digitalisation, big data and external factors such as political and consumer pressures. Cold chain players who will still be in the market five or ten years from now are those constantly assessing what’s on the horizon and how it may affect them. Getting ahead of the curve is crucial, so what are some of the major trends shaping the cold chain right now?
SHIFTS AWAY FROM DIESEL TECHNOLOGIES
Fleet operators can see diesel is on the way out. For example, in the UK, all sales of new diesel and petrol cars will cease from 2040. Operators are therefore trying to get ahead by seeking out alternative, cleaner technologies instead.
This phasing out of diesel is due to legal pressure on the UK government. The government has lost three court cases to ClientEarth over the inadequacy of its air quality plans. We are expecting to find out later this month whether the European Commission will refer the UK (and eight other EU states) to the European Court of Justice for failing to meet EU air quality laws. The UK’s draft Clean Air Strategy is also being published this summer.
Diesel bans are coming into place in cities including: Rome, Paris, Mexico City, Madrid, Oslo, Stuttgart, Athens, Copenhagen, amongst others. In London, the Mayor has brought the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, to start from April 2019. And this is on top of his recent £10 a day ‘toxicity’ charge for pre-Euro 4 engines. This shift away from diesel is a global trend.
Further afield in California, the state’s clean air agency- the California Air Resources Board- has demonstrated willingness to commit hundreds of millions of dollars per year to support vehicles, infrastructure and zero emission solutions like the Dearman engine, rather than supporting cleaner versions of legacy diesel.
TACKLING THE DUAL PROBLEMS OF NOISE AND CONGESTION
Here in London, one-fifth of the capital’s traffic is already freight vehicles, and during the morning peak, this rises to one-third. These figures will only rise. London’s current population of 8.7 million is expected to rise to 10.5 million over the coming 25 years, and naturally the number of deliveries being made will rise sharply too. Furthermore, within Greater London, almost 2.4 million people are exposed to road traffic noise levels that are above the 55 decibels provided as a guideline by the World Health Organisation. On these issues, a similar picture will be playing out in major capitals across the globe.
In terms of noise, diesel refrigeration units reach 75-80 decibels and can go down to 65 decibels, exceeding the international PIEK standard of 60 decibels at a distance of 7.5m. By contrast, Dearman TRUs can meet the 60 decibel target, which is the level of a normal office conversation. Fleet operators increasingly want technologies that give them the flexibility to be able to conduct night-time deliveries, and this supports policymakers’ objective for tackling day-time congestion and pollution too.
RISING GLOBAL DEMAND FOR CLEAN COLD CHAINS.
Nine in ten consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also address social and environment issues. That’s from a major study of 10,000 consumers across nine countries. Unilever, M&S and Sainsbury’s, for example, have set out major goals to reduce their carbon emissions, and all these companies have all come to Dearman to deploy our unique zero emission technology.
It’s not just consumers demanding sustainable growth, but governments too. Dearman is particularly exploring opportunities in China, where there is a fast-growing middle class. For example, fridge ownership among China’s urban households rose from 7% to 95% between 1995 and 2007. McKinsey estimates that by 2030, China’s urban population will have grown by 350 million to one billion. The country’s 200,000-strong TRU fleet is also expected to grow to one million in the foreseeable future.
At the same time, and crucially, the Chinese government, as a signatory to the Paris climate agreement, wants to manage all this growth cleanly. The government recently published a paper on how it could ensure a greener cold chain.
These are just three of many trends that fleet operators are having to adapt to. The solutions most attractive to the cold chain are those helping fleet operators stay ahead of these challenges. Dearman’s innovative transport refrigeration unit is one such solution and the interest we have received from major brands- not least Unilever- is testament to that. The logistics sector may be in flux, but Dearman is determined to be ahead of the game.
Director of Special Projects