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The Future of Truckload Shipping and Green Logistics

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Green logistics is part of the future of truckload shipping. Learn more about shipping freight and lessening damage to the environment.
Published: February 4, 2020
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

All businesses appreciate the importance and value of green logistics. By employing these kinds of changes, your business can be much more financially sound, while also displaying more of a responsibility towards the planet we all share. It’s no surprise that more and more businesses are turning towards this kind of change, and in the world of truckload shipping it is no different. If you are keen to ensure that your own distribution techniques are following green ideals, then there are a number of things that you will want to consider first.

Green logistics is part of the future of truckload shipping. The term “green logistics” refers to the process of reducing damage to the environment in logistics and transportation operations. The process lends itself toward sustainability and eco-friendly transportation.

Whether you are in need of some help or you are happy to make these kinds of changes to your business by yourself, it is going to be first necessary to understand exactly what you need to do, and what we mean when we talk about green logistics. So let’s take a look at this now in a little more detail, to get you started down that road.

What is Green Logistics?

What is Green Logistics

Because of the huge importance that brand image has in keeping your customers happy and your business healthy, being green is becoming more and more of an important factor that all companies need to be considering. If, like many other businesses, you are currently focused on moving towards more of a sustainability-focused way of doing things, then one of the most important things you will need to look at as a part of that process is green logistics.

In short, green logistics includes any effort a company makes to lower their emissions and generally reduce their pollution produced from all logistical endeavours. That will include changes being made in the flow of products, information and services, and the more of these that you pay attention to, the better. As a notion, green logistics began life somewhere in the 1980s, though it is in recent years that it has started to really kick off as a powerful idea to be taken up.

By implementing a variety of green logistics tactics, a company can massively reduce their impact on the ecology of the planet, while boosting their brand image and keeping their costs down.

What is the Green Supply Chain?

As an entrepreneur, you will already understand what a supply chain is. This begins with the procurement of whatever materials and goods you need to create products, and ends with the products being delivered into customers’ hands. A green supply chain is simply one which integrates as many eco-friendly attributes as possible into this system. So what are some of the best-known ways to optimize a supply chain so that it is as green as possible?

Some of the changes you might wish to make could include:

  • Reducing the amount of shipping that you have to use, meaning that fewer fossil fuels are burned and the ecological impact is therefore reduced. Using truckload shipping is one way of doing this.
  • Keeping all packaging to a minimum, thereby ensuring less wastage.
  • Using fewer hazardous materials along every step of the supply chain.
  • On the whole, reducing waste as much as possible and wherever possible.

Implementing the changes in the green supply chain (and there may be considerably more than are listed here, of course) can take a lot of time, and it is likely to be the case that any business wanting to do so is going to have to go through a period of trial and error. However, once a supply chain has been made greener, there will be reduced costs, a reduced impact, and an improved public image - all of which are to be enjoyed and appreciated by any business in the world operating today.

What is Green Distribution?

What is Green Distribution

Distribution in a business is the process, or set of processes, by which goods and materials are shipped out and transported. So it follows that green distribution is merely the attempt to do that via methods which are, on the whole, sustainable. That is easier said than done, but any business wanting to have a green supply chain and green logistics generally is going to need to focus plenty of their efforts on green distribution specifically, as it is a major part of the chain. Let’s look at some of the major factors to consider in trying to adopt a green distribution stance.

The following are all positive moves in the right direction.

  1. Any means of reducing the distance between supplier and supplied will result in a greener distribution process. Less distance means less fuel, and less fossil fuels burned.
  2. There should be a dual focus, tackling both social and ecological problems at once.
  3. There needs to be a life-cycle orientation with sustainability products to ensure their full sustainability is managed.
  4. There is never really an end to improving sustainability across a distribution process, so there needs to be a focus on continual improvement at all times.

If you can ensure that you are making these kinds of changes and adopting these attitudes, you will find that your distribution process becomes much more green in no time. Green distribution is going to be one of the most important trends in coming years, and that is one of the best reasons to start thinking about truckload shipping more, as one of the best potential ways to make your distribution process greener.

What are the Advantages of Green Logistics?

Before setting out to make any big changes to how you do things in business, you will of course be keen to know exactly what all of the key advantages are. In the case of green logistics, many of these will of course be environmental, but it is important to appreciate that the full scope of advantages goes far beyond that, and the more of these you are aware of, the more likely you are to appreciate just how beneficial for everyone these kinds of changes are. By employing green logistics changes in your business, the world will benefit - as will your customers, employees, and the business itself.

Here are a few of the primary advantages of green logistics.

  1. Mitigate a large number of business risks associated with old ways of approaching the supply chain.
  2. Improve your brand image and gain more customers as a result.
  3. Reduce operating costs across the entire supply chain and beyond, resulting in a healthier budget year on year.
  4. Become the preferred vendor for many more customers, clients, and businesses, thus improving your business’ strength for the future.

These four are some of the major benefits that your business itself can experience once you start going green with your logistics and your supply chain. Clearly, they are going to be attractive to anyone wanting to improve their business across the board. Of course, they are not the only benefits, however - and a true environmentalist would argue that nor are they the most important.

On top of those benefits to your business itself, you can also expect to see a number of important and useful benefits in a range of other sectors, too. It is a good idea to be as aware of these as you can be, as that is going to mean that you are much more inspired to make the necessary changes, and that is certainly going to be helpful when you are first trying to shake things up. A greener logistical approach will improve your environmental impact hugely. It will make for fewer fossil fuels being burned, less wastage being produced, much less waste on the landfill and fewer products to recycle, which in itself uses energy. It will build a better world for our children, and their children - and really, what could be more important than that? If you would like to see those changes, think about green logistics today.

How Can Logistics Companies be Environmentally Friendly?

Now that you have clearly seen and understood many of the advantages and benefits of being environmentally friendly, the next obvious question is: how can you go about making sure that you are being as environmentally friendly as possible? There are a number of ways to approach this depending on the type of business you run, but for a logistic company, there are a few main things to think of changing up first and foremost.

Anything you do to use less fuel is going to help dramatically. That includes ensuring that routes are as efficient as possible, to avoid wasteful driving. It also means using full truckloads wherever possible, and ensuring you are not using more trucks than necessary. Using a service like ours, with professional and skilled drivers who will drive in a logical and non-wasteful way, will also make a big difference to how much fuel you are using, and so how green your distribution process is.

Finally, a focus on sustainability is the watchword here, and that means ensuring that all of the materials you source are fully sustainable, or as close to it as possible. By paying attention to all sides of the logistical process, you can ensure that you are being as environmentally friendly as possible.

How Do You Achieve Green Logistics?

Green logistics more generally are going to be one of the most important parts of ensuring that your business is being environmentally friendly. As it happens, there are a wide range of things you can do to achieve green logistics, so let’s take a look at some of the most important of these that you might want to consider taking on board.

It is always helpful if you allow for a certain amount of collaborative planning, as that will ensure that you are able to find better ways to do everything in your logistical process. By putting your heads together with suppliers and others in your chain, you can ensure that the best solution is always found. Making use of emerging markets and infrastructure is another important consideration, as it ensures that you are keeping on top of the process in the best way possible for the present moment. And if you can manage to enact any changes at a governmental level - even just a local government - then that is going to bring about a better world beyond the scope of your business alone.

Identifying waste is another big part of this process. Once you know where waste is being produced, and why, you can begin to do something about it. You might find that some systems you are used to using have much higher levels of natural waste, or that there are some logistical issues you could avoid which would help to reduce waste across the board. These are going to be an important way of ensuring that you are being much greener. Finally, remember the value of measuring what you are doing at all times, and setting goals which you can specifically aim for and follow.

What Are the Benefits of a Green Supply Chain?

What Are the Benefits of a Green Supply Chain

Many of the benefits we listed above surrounding the idea of green logistics generally are going to be applicable to the green supply chain more specifically. Those include reducing costs, improving your brand image and creating a better world. But there are also a number of benefits that you can expect for your business specifically from the supply chain aspect of being more environmentally friendly, and it is a good idea to be fully aware of what these are too, so that your business is considerably more inspired to make those changes. With that in mind, let’s look at a few of the most important benefits that you can expect as a result of having a greener supply chain in your business.

The main benefit, beyond those listed above, is that you will see huge improvements in your general financial performance across the board. All companies are continually vying for this, so it’s definitely one of the main things to be glad for. You will also be able to expect a much better reputation not just for the business in terms of branding, but also for you personally, and any other managers who might be involved in your business. With these kinds of advantages to having a green supply chain, you can be sure that it is something you are going to want to look into as best as you can.

Approaches to Green Logistics

Enough about what is so good about green logistics: how can you actually make sure that you are approaching it in the right way? Before you have really made any steps in the right direction here, you are bound to find yourself wondering whether it is really going to be possible to make all the necessary changes. Of course, it will be perfectly possible, but you are going to have to think about some of the approaches to green logistics that will suit your company best. To help you out, we have listed here a few of the main ones that you will want to consider, so that you can hopefully have some idea of how to go about getting started in green logistics and a green supply chain.

Some of the approaches to green logistics would include:

  • Customer focus. By thinking about improving life for the customer, you can also become more environmentally friendly. 
  • Finding the appropriate markets and using them well. 
  • Sourcing sustainable materials and creating sustainable products.
  • Looking at the structures of your organization, and planning alternatives.
  • Measuring what you do, especially any changes. 
  • Employing new technologies, and training employees.

If you can focus on all of these at once, you are going to find that you are much more likely to approach green logistics in a way which really makes a difference to your business, and to the world around you. But let’s look now at some of the specifics involved in such processes - starting with a look at the trends in truckload shipping and how they relate to green initiatives.

Trends in Truckload Shipping

Trends in Truckload Shipping

If you are to make these kinds of sweeping changes in your business, you need to know about the world you are living and operating in - how it functions, how it works, and what kind of changes are about to take place. If you have started to realize just how important truckload shipping might be in all this, then you will probably need to think about the trends that are taking place in that right now. That will help you to appreciate better just what it can do for your business in helping you to become greener and use more green initiatives across the board. So what are some of the current and nearby trends in truckload shipping that you might want to be aware of?

For one, freight volumes seem to be improving, meaning increased capacity - and fewer journeys that have to be made. Good news for any business wanting to have a green supply chain. Also, advances in technology mean that this kind of shipping is becoming more and more transparent, and more easily monitored. With advanced tracking tools being the big news of 2020, this is likely to be one of the most important considerations here.

Green Logistics Examples

There are a lot of ways in which your company, or any company like it, might hope to make use of greener logistical changes in the near future. If you are thinking of doing that, perhaps because you have seen just how much it can do for you and what kind of an influence it is likely to have, then you will want to make sure that you are aware of a number of the best examples of these green logistics. That will help you to make better sense of it, and to appreciate just how widely diverse these options really can be.

Many of the examples you might find of green logistics will relate to different parts of the process - indeed, there are ways of improving every aspect of the chain supply and logistics more generally, and of ensuring that they are each as environmentally friendly as possible. So let’s take a look at some of the green logistics examples that you might want to make use of in your business.

Some particularly important green logistics examples include:

  1. Keeping the energy consumption of transportation to a minimum - through the use of the methods outlined above.
  2. Reusing and recycling goods along the entire chain, particularly those which require a lot of energy to produce in the first instance.
  3. Looking at ways to keep waste to an absolute minimum, from decreasing packaging to using fewer materials in the product itself.
  4. Improving design so as to be easier and more efficient to ship.
  5. Being careful to always source goods, materials and other commodities from environmentally friendly sources and purveyors of green initiatives.

In the attempt to make your business greener and more environmentally friendly, all of these are likely to be important, and you will probably find yourself attending to each one in turn. If you do that, you will soon enough find yourself with a business which is clearly much more dedicated to green endeavours, and that is a good situation to be in. Of course, you will first need to have some idea of how you can actually put these things into practice. So next we will look at that in a little more detail.

How Can You Apply Green Logistics Practices?

How Can You Apply Green Logistics Practices

Once you are sure that you want to move in the direction of being more environmentally friendly in your business, and you know which of the changes you are most eager to make, you will need to then learn about how you might be able to apply those specific green logistics practices that you are keen to take on board. That will always partly depend, of course, upon the specific initiatives you are hoping of bringing on board. But in any case, a good first step is to make sure that you plan it out, and that you put someone in charge of proceedings too.

After that, it is just a matter of making sure that you keep measuring those new practices, and that you keep an eye on them generally. That will help you to ensure that you are utilizing them in the right way, and that your business is going to enjoy the benefits of them as fully as possible, as well as boosting the benefits they will provide to the planet and other people too, of course.

How Can You Make Truckload Shipping More Sustainable?

As one of the most common and useful kinds of transportation of goods there are, it is very likely that your business is going to make good use of truckload shipping. It is therefore important that you are going to do everything in your power to make truckload shipping as sustainable as possible, and that is something that might be easier to do than you might assume. In this section, we will take a brief look at some of the best ways to go about doing this, so that your use of truckload shipping is much more sustainable in no time.

Truckload shipping can be made more sustainable by:

  • Packaging products and other goods as well as possible, thereby keeping the space used to an absolute minimum.
  • Keeping products to the size that they are meant to be, and not allowing them to gradually grow over time.
  • Where possible, focus on using bulk services to ensure that you are not wasting fuel.
  • Minimize waste throughout the whole process in whatever way you can.
  • Assess the performance of the truckload shipping services you are considering using, and choose the one that has the best track record in sustainability.
  • Ultimately, only ship what is necessary.

By focusing on these simple but essential things, you can make sure that your use of truckload shipping is as sustainable as possible. This will likely form an important part of your overall attempts to make your business greener, and you will find that it is a good place to start with making those changes too. Even if you can only take on board a few of these for now, you should find that you are in a good position to really make your business much more sustainable in no time at all, so make sure that you are trying to do that as soon as possible.

Does Green Logistics Cost More?

Does Green Logistics Cost More

As with any decisions that you might be willing to make in business, you still need to always make sure that you pay attention to your budgeting. If you fail to do that, ultimately you are going to cause some harm to your business - and that is not the purpose of this exercise in sustainability at all. So before you make these changes in ensuring your business is utilizing green logistics, you need to make sure that you are not going to be worse off as a result.

Generally, you will find that many of the schemes outlined in this article are much more cost-effective than you might at first assume. Sustainable sourcing is one which is often looked down upon by beancounters, but the truth is that in the long run you are likely to save a considerable amount of money by approaching it in this greener way. Similarly, when it comes to the transport side of things, you are absolutely going to save a lot of money by employing greener tactics. Let’s look at how that might be the case.

For one thing, by making use of a more sustainable truckload shipping service, you will be using far less energy and having to use the service itself less too. That will be compounded further if you are taking great care to keep packaging to a minimum and ship only what is necessary, too. All of that will save money, so this is absolutely something that you are going to want to think about when you are making your decision here about whether or not to go green in your logistics.

But it goes beyond just that side of things. You are also going to save money with many of the other parts of green logistics. Most of the things you need to do to be greener in business, and in your supply chain in particular, are centred around keeping energy usage down - and that is something that is always going to cost you less than using more energy, for obvious reasons. So that’s something to bear in mind too.

The truth is, it is not a straight choice between the sustainable option or the cheap option. These two are very often the same option, and what’s more this is becoming truer and truer as time goes on, and more of these opportunities open up. So there is no financial reason not to employ green logistics in your business, and you should do so as soon as possible.

Green Logistics and Truckload Shipping

Green Logistics and Truckload Shipping

As we have already alluded to, one of the major parts of utilizing green logistics will always be making use of truckload shipping, and ensuring that you do so in as sensible and sustainable a way as possible. One of the most important things there is to ensure that you go to the right people for those needs, as that is going to make a huge difference to how effective this use of truckload shipping is.

Employed properly, truckload shipping can be a helpful way of championing green logistics, by:

  • Keeping your transportation use to a minimum. 
  • Only ordering deliveries by the freight-load, thereby saving energy all round.
  • Choosing a truckload shipping partner known for their green credentials and high sustainability.
  • Keeping away from other, less sustainable means of transportation like air.
  • Making a stand and setting an example for other businesses to follow.

If you are serious about green logistics, using a truckload shipping company you can trust is going to be a hugely important part of utilizing those changes and putting them into place.

R+L Global Logistics and Truckload Shipping

As you can see, your choice of supply provider is one of the most important decisions you make in ensuring you are championing and using green logistics. At R+L Global Logistics, we pride ourselves on being the kind of provider you can trust, and we are an important part of your supply chain. 

With truckload shipping services including expedited freight, refrigerated freight and more, R+L Global Logistics is prepared to be your strategic partner. 

To find out more, don’t hesitate to call us today at (866) 353-7178. Request a freight rate quote, explore available freight shipping routes and get your cargo on the road with R+L Global Logistics.

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