Decarbonization on the North American agenda | IRU

The IRU North American Transport Forum debated how road hauliers are handling the accelerated pace of decarbonisation and its impact on the sector.

Finding the right balance between reducing vehicle emissions and their carbon footprint, while ensuring that road transport operations continue to operate efficiently to serve people and businesses, is a central objective for the IRU.

An IRU North American Transport Forum event held last week focused on how road transport operators, or road hauliers, are managing the rapid pace at which decarbonisation is affecting the sector.

Three major companies from Canada, Mexico and the United States, covering different parts of the road transport sector, spoke about their experiences following an introduction by IRU President Radu Dinescu, who also presented the Green Deal of IRU, and closing remarks by IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto.

Radu Dinescu, IRU Presidentsaid: “Our greatest challenge is to reduce CO₂ emissions in transport in order to properly meet global, regional and national deadlines, but also to continue to nurture and develop opportunities, economic prosperity and social harmony. brought by road transport.

“The Green Compact is based on an open, flexible and collaborative multi-stakeholder approach. The IRU works in partnership with industry to help it achieve ambitious decarbonisation targets. We need to identify the most effective ways to achieve full decarbonization while respecting regional diversity and national realities, and also openly share feedback, information and progress.

Jorge Casares Lopez, who directs Alianza Trayecto, said, “As a transportation leader in Mexico, we are fully committed to working within our industry, from suppliers to other road carriers, to reduce our carbon footprint. In this sense, we have undertaken research to see which technologies could best apply to our business model and our vehicles.

“We are fully committed to looking at all the technologies being developed around the world to make sure we can meet the decarbonization challenge and implement them where it makes sense.”

Ken Marko, Senior Director of Fleet Sustainability at US Foods, said: “We are still at the beginning of the industry when it comes to the development of electric vehicles. But there are a lot of different vendors involved in this, with a lot of electric vehicles being developed.

“For carriers, it is very important that they understand the duty cycle of vehicles and their range requirements, and how to define the right technologies to integrate into their fleets. From a fleet perspective, there really is no silver bullet. There are many technologies that can support sustainability initiatives, and this includes examining operational efficiency. »

Scott Tilley, Chairman of the Tandet Group, said: “The best solution is to burn less carbon. Zero is less and would be a great target. But is it practical, real and available today? One challenge is whether these technologies can work in a country that spends up to five months in freezing temperatures or below.

“But, more importantly, we need to look at strategies around legacy issues within our industry so that we can make changes bit by bit that, if done thoughtfully and consistently, will make a difference.

“For me, our biggest challenge is to change the status quo. It’s really in the hands of government and industry, and there will be resistance to that, to change the legacy things that we do. But we are determined to move forward.

Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General, in his closing remarks, said: “Governments need to start realizing that everything, absolutely everything, depends on road transport. We have the CO₂ challenge and, as I heard one of the other speakers say, “there is no silver bullet”. We have to look not only at the national level, but at the regional level, what is the best combination.

“I would like to invite you to work with us on our Green Compact, so that we continue to be grounded in reality. What could reduce CO₂ emissions, make our businesses stronger and revive economies? »

The North American Transport Forum brings together IRU members, supply chain leaders, broader industry and governments to improve cross-border transport and logistics in North America. It is managed in cooperation with IRU members ATA, CANACAR and CTA.

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