Opinion

Getting Our Heads Around Change

getting our heads around change

In preparation for the changes which are going to come along, as the trucking industry reduces carbon emissions over the next 20 years or so, it’s about time we started getting our heads around change and working towards some practical solutions.

At the moment, all of the talk in discussions around reducing carbon emissions, there’s a lot of talk about the new technology, about introducing electric trucks, fuel cell electric trucks, hydrogen powered internal combustion engined trucks and the use of HVO fuel, but they’re not the only players that there are in this game.

There are plenty of strategies which can be introduced by the trucking industry which will dramatically reduce the amount of carbon road transport operations produce. These do not involve new technologies so much as involving getting our heads around the change and thinking outside the square, developing systems which can reduce the amount of carbon emissions we create,

Earlier this year PowerTorque reported on a presentation made by Professor Russell Thompson, who is Professor of Transport Engineering and Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

He works in the field of the economics of transport systems and his team have been modelling potential changes to the way we run road transport, which could produce massive reductions in carbon emissions from road transport.

If the aim of the exercise is to reduce carbon emissions and not necessarily introduce a lot of new whizz-bang high-tech vehicles onto our roads, then maybe more people should listen to what people like Russell have to say and think about their own operation, then think about ways it could be done more efficiently.

The model which Russell came up with for the distribution of freight around Melbourne is simply achieved by looking at the problem in a completely different way and not just expanding the existing system as it gets busier and busier.

The way their model works is for goods being produced or stored in areas around Melbourne which have to be delivered elsewhere in Melbourne to be moved to a single local location. There, loads are consolidated from that area of the city and then moved to a similar consolidation centres around the city and distributed out from there, along with other goods which are set for delivery in that particular area.

In the model that Russell has been talking about there is potential to reduce carbon emissions for distributing goods around the city of Melbourne by 76 per cent. Now, of course, that is the kind of result you can achieve in a perfect world, but we live in an imperfect world. However, even in an imperfect world we should probably be able to achieve at least half of those carbon emission reductions whilst continuing to use our existing diesel fleet.

The problem is of course that the trucking industry as a whole does not have a history of working collaboratively together and in an organised rational manner but, instead, competing fiercely with each other and steadfastly guarding its own freight.

What I’m simply suggesting is we look at these issues and spend some time getting our heads around change and perhaps thinking way outside the square, working together collaboratively and improving the emissions profile of the trucking industry by simply being more organised. Then we can allow the new technology, when it finally does arrive, to help us reduce the carbon emissions even further and get us closer to that eventual target of carbon zero in 2050.

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