Analysis of long-term freight transport, logistics and related CO2 trends on a business-as-usual basis
Piecyk, Maja Izabela
MetadataShow full item record
Freight transport is the life-blood of today’s economy. Raw materials, components and finished products flow in vast quantities through complex supply chain systems to satisfy the demands of the ultimate customers. Although vital to ensure economic prosperity, freight transport also poses a large burden on the environment and society. Road remains a dominant mode of freight transport in the UK, with 65% of the total tonne-kms moved and 82% of tonnes lifted in 2008. Most of the externalities associated with road freight transport have already been subject to legal environmental controls. CO2 emissions are the only externality that still remains unregulated. In order to evaluate the effects of potential regulations or other policy options, decision makers need a reliable forecast of the future course of the road freight transport- related CO2 emissions in the absence of such new initiatives and interventions. Most currently available forecasts relate to road transport as a whole and focus on the passenger vehicle activity. Forecasts of road freight volumes and related externalities are typically linked to trends in economic activity, ignoring changes in the nature of logistics and supply chain systems. Hence, the aim of this thesis is to produce a forecast of road freight transport – related CO2 emissions up to 2020 on a business-as-usual (BAU) basis by incorporating the projections on future trends in a number of logistics and road freight transport variables and the driving forces behind them. The theoretical foundations of the logistics and supply chain management discipline continuously evolve, allowing researchers to view real-world problems from an array of philosophical perspectives, leading to scientific advancement and enrichment of the body of knowledge. This thesis is rooted in the critical realist paradigm and employs methodological triangulation involving focus group research, a Delphi questionnaire survey and spreadsheet modelling to produce a reliable BAU forecast of future CO2 emissions from road freight transport. In addition to the forecast of future CO2 emissions from Heavy Goods Vehicles, this research also elicits forecasts of changes in key logistics and freight transport variables such as handling factor, average length of haul, modal split, empty running, lading factor and fuel efficiency up to 2020. The main structural, commercial, operational, functional, external and product-related factors behind future trends in these variables are also investigated. The BAU scenario is assessed in the light of the UK greenhouse gas reduction target and additional scenarios offering CO2 savings greater than that predicted by the BAU case modelled. The thesis concludes with a review of potential policy measures that could help to reduce the future CO2 emissions from road freight transport.