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Facts and figures on mode-by-mode transport emissions

Date: 09/10/2011

CE Delft has updated the facts and figures of the original STREAM study on the specific emissions of individual modes of freight transport. In the new report the environmental impacts of such transport and projections for 2020 have been revised, factoring in the influence of technological innovation and new emission standards. This makes the new edition of STREAM a comprehensive, up-to-date and accessible database on transport emissions. The study was carried out by CE Delft at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

The main focus of the study is on emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and air pollutants like particulates and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur. According to CE Delft researcher Eelco den Boer, the study shows that the type of transport with the lowest emissions depends on several parameters, including scale, engine technology and logistical issues. "Our data show that it depends very much on the size, occupancy rate and load factor of the vehicle and trip concerned. What does emerge, though, is that rail and inland shipping generally score better than trucks in terms of CO2 emissions. When it comes to air pollutants, the differences are far smaller, with trucks sometimes even scoring better. The technological improvements and tighter standards of recent years have had a clear impact on emissions. On the roads, air pollutant emissions are set to decline faster than in inland shipping during the coming years. Electric rail, for its part, continues to score well environmentally."

Today, many freight carriers have adopted sustainable logistics as a key corporate objective, for both financial and environmental considerations, and the STREAM data play an important role in assessing the 'carbon footprint' of their operations. The new update incorporates logistical data from the everyday practice of various transport sectors. It is anticipated that companies will be making ever more use of STREAM data, certainly with the European Commission now proposing a substantial shift from road to water and rail transport. Emissions data on individual transport modes will then be a key element in gauging whether the desired CO2 emission cuts are being achieved in optimum fashion.

Download here the STREAM International Freight 2011 report.

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