How a 3PL Can Help Reduce Environmental Waste


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Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” According to the EPA, the transportation industry accounts for over 28% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. There are several reasons for why this is the case, but it mostly comes down to businesses shipping products in the easiest and “most efficient” way at the onset of a relationship with a carrier.

Completely eliminating the causes of environmental problems is irrational and impossible. Environmental sustainability will mainly come from reducing emissions and that’s where a 3PL can help streamline the shipping process to help create a more environmentally friendly carbon footprint for a business.

Here’s what a 3PL can help achieve:

Reduced Emissions

On average, the typical truck drives 14,000 miles a year with an empty trailer. That amounts to over 2,400 gallons of fuel and 26.4 tons of emissions. Every mile traveled means more emissions. It’s not realistic for a business or a business and carrier alone to eliminate the need for “deadheading” or returning home without another load. When a 3PL gets involved they can match a carrier with other businesses as well to greatly decrease wasted miles.

Reduced Energy

Often a shipper will look for the fastest mode of transportation without considering the consequences to the environment. Shipping by means of consolidation is one massive way to increase efficiency as a whole. Shipping LTL through a 3PL can help a business ship products quickly and reduce the carbon footprint. For every truck, there’s an increased need for steps along the way in terms of loading/unloading, stops, etc.

Reduced Waste

Every movement (or non-movement) costs money somewhere. Whether that be to damaged roadways, tires, engines, gasoline, and oil intake, etc. Every movement needs to be helpful. A 3PL can provide smart logistics solutions to help streamline a business’s practices to identify waste and increase efficiency.

Alignment with Governmental Regulations

In different parts of the country there are rules about environmental procedures that must be followed for businesses. If sustainability isn’t up to par in the realm of logistics, a business can be fined, penalized, or even invoke criminal charges. A 3PL brings knowledge to the table to help shippers know the laws, and to ensure they stay in good standing.

Increased Viewpoint from Customers

One of the most hotly debated topics in every political debate is the environment. More and more people are dealing with companies that are more environmentally friendly. In a study done by IBM involving 19,000 customers ages 18-73, they found that 70% of customers want to stand by a brand that is eco-friendly. Shippers can bring attention to the fact that they are utilizing a 3PL with a proven track record for increasing environmental efficiencies and decreasing the carbon footprint of its businesses.

The main job of a 3PL is to make profits for businesses and carriers. Usually, efficiency and profit go hand in hand. Eliminating deadheading and using expertise and connections within the industry to map out the most environmentally friendly plan of action is the pathway to trust and profit. It is at this point that the question must be asked, what are you currently doing to increase environmental sustainability?