Volvo Cuts Down on Emissions by Switching to Trains for Logistics
Aside from leading the industry in safety, Volvo Cars is also paving the way among car makers in terms of reducing carbon emissions in its operations. Its latest CO2-reducing measure involves switching its logistics methods from trucks to trains in transporting its finished products from manufacturing plants to new car depots.
The switch is especially beneficial in Europe, where trucks remain the primary option for delivering new cars to distribution depots and dealerships. Volvo states that it is currently “in the process of reducing emissions by replacing more and more transports by trucks with rail transport.”
Citing an example, by implementing rail transport between its Ghent, Belgium-based manufacturing plant and a purpose-built depot in northern Italy, the Geely-owned company managed to reduce emissions on that route by almost 75 percent.
On another route, this time from Ghent to an Austrian depot, emissions were cut by almost 50 percent when the new cars were transported by train.
Both initiatives are part of the climate action plan that Volvo Cars unveiled this year. Under the plan, the company aims to reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint per car by 40 percent between 2018 and 2025, which will require a 25 percent reduction in operational emissions, including logistics.
The 2025 plan is one tangible step that puts the Swedish car brand in a better position to achieving its ambitious goal of becoming a climate neutral company by 2040.
“When we said we planned to significantly reduce emissions across all our operations, we meant it,” said Javier Varela, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics at Volvo Cars. “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.”
After Europe, Volvo will also look into using large-scale rail transport systems for its operations in the US and China.
In the US, the company’s Charleston, South Carolina-based manufacturing plant has partnered with a well-established rail cargo network taking new cars to depots in cities across North America. Already now, these trains replace the equivalent of dozens of trucks per week, a number likely to increase once the next generation XC90 goes into production.
In China, cars are transported from its manufacturing plants in Chengdu, Lugiao and Daqing 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.
Volvo Cars climate action plan represents one of the most ambitious plans in the automotive industry, as it puts the company in line with the global Paris climate agreement of 2015, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The company’s electrification ambitions are reflected in the recently launched, brand new Volvo Recharge car line, set to be the overarching name for all chargeable Volvo cars with a fully electric and plug-in hybrid powertrain.