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The burden of empty miles

Full truckload freight is responsible for 252 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year, and 87 million tons of that is attributed to empty miles. Carriers bear the brunt of the hardship that empty miles create, but the issue burdens the industry across the board. Because carriers consider fuel costs, capacity demands and expected waste, all those involved in the supply chain feel the financial and environmental impact of empty miles.

In partnership, FreightWaves and Convoy recently released a report on the awareness and impact of empty miles. The report shows that while the industry is becoming increasingly mindful of the growth of empty miles, many are still unaware of the cost and environmental effects that empty miles have on the supply chain as a whole.

“Empty miles are a sustainability issue, and a cost issue as well,” said Braedan Dasté, sustainability marketing specialist at Convoy. “One thing we really want to focus on with our #NoEmptyMiles campaign is bringing broader awareness to not only the leadership but also to the ‘boots on the ground,’ like load planners and transportation planners, and make sure that they are aware [of the entire impact of empty miles].”

Amid today’s rise in gas prices and insurance premiums, the report also indicates that many relate reducing empty miles only to reducing costs. But while prioritizing supply chain optimization can lower costs, Dasté notes that it is also an effective way to reduce carbon emissions in your supply chain.

Reducing the waste that empty miles create is a problem for everyone in the industry. Solving it requires collaboration and visibility. Solutions available in today’s market range from working with digital freight networks, like Convoy, to investing in the electrification of fleets and use of alternative fuel vehicles.

“Because [the U.S.] has a higher percentage across the board in regards to carbon emissions, any improvement that we make to our supply chain, in terms of reducing carbon emissions on the road, is going to be exponential,” Dasté said. “To me that is exciting and is something the freight industry can be at the forefront of.” 

You can download the report by clicking here