Analysis tool for transport systems (TrEx)

Funded by VINNOVA
Type Research project
Time period 2009-01-01 - 2012-12-30

Facing increasing volumes of freight transportation there is increasing pressure on monitoring and mitigating the negative impact on the environment and society that follows. Within this project 9 reports and publications within the logistics field was produced as well as the TrEx tool, an analysis tool for calculating environmental impact and efficiency of transport systems.

Background

The negative impact on the environment and society from freight transportation is a problem. This impact involves a number of areas where the climate gases are in focus but also comprises air pollutants, land use, accidents, congestion, pollution to water and soil, noise, the use of limited natural resources etc. Companies measuring the environmental impact from their products, e.g. the carbon footprint, often finds that transportation plays a key role. At the same time the deciding parameters when transportation services are purchased are typically related to logistics parameters, which means that the price, speed of delivery and reliability are what matters at the end of the day. In addition, there is of course the close connection between increase in transportation and economic growth that is an important background for policy decisions.

Purpose

The main purpose with the project was to develop a tool, useful when performing analyses of cost and environmental impact when making long term plans and designing new logistics structures and processes. It could involve scenarios where different solutions are explored, e.g. localisation of production units, warehouses, allocation of production capacity, transport modes and load units used. The tool can also be used for follow up and reporting on logistics costs, external costs and environmental performance and for analysis/bench marking of the results when improvement areas can be highlighted and rules of thumb created.

The tool may be used by shippers, when purchasing transports on a larger scale, to find the most cost-efficient solution, or the most preferable transport provider.

Outcomes

Several publications were generated within the project as well as the actual tool TrEx. The TrExTool makes it possible to calculate a total cost, including direct logistics costs, service deficiency costs and external costs, for different logistics solutions or scenarios. It also facilitates comparisons between the different cost elements and the environmental effects can also be shown in physical terms. The tool gives a way to calculate the benefits and drawbacks of the different transport modes, which will give decision support when choosing between road, rail, sea and air transport and highlights, in cost terms, the benefits of e.g. choosing trucks with a higher emission class and using more environmentally benign fuels. The tool represents a way to calculate the benefits and drawbacks of the different transport solutions. By internalizing external effects it is possible to give a certain indication of the effect of different proposed logistics changes. The tool can be used to calculate a total transport cost for comparing different logistics solutions, but it is also possible to compare the magnitude of different types of costs and also physical measures of environmental impact. Thus, it is possible to prepare for future internalization of external costs and by making forecasts of future costs.

Project organisation
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute ABB AkzoNobel Essity Hygiene and Health (SCA) Volvo Group SKF Chalmers University of Technology Swedish Life Cycle Center (CPM)