A cost and CO₂ comparison of using trains and higher capacity trucks when UK FMCG companies collaborate

Companies working in a collaboration are able to achieve higher vehicle capacity utilisation and reduced empty running, resulting in lower costs and improved sustainability through reduced emissions and congestion. Collaboration produces higher volumes of goods to be moved than individual companies which means that further efficiencies may be possible by relaxing the freight mode constraints and considering rail and higher capacity vehicles. This paper explains how real world data has been used in a model to quantify the economic and environmental benefits in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector delivered through collaboration utilising road and rail freight modes. Data for one month was provided by 10 FMCG companies and included freight transport flows between depots and customers, inter depot movements, and supplier collections. Detailed road and rail costs and operating characteristics were obtained and, with the transport flows, applied to a network design model which was used to validate the company data sets. A strategy examining the potential use of alternative higher capacity vehicles and rail for the flows between nine regional consolidation centres showed cost and CO₂ savings. Just under half the inter-regional flows benefited from double deck trailers, longer heavier vehicles for 30% of the flows and rail with different wagon configurations for the rest. In summary there was a 23% reduction in cost with 58% fewer road kilometres and a 46% reduction in CO₂ emissions. The ability to backhaul the same mode of transport between most of the regional centres was one of the strengths of this strategy.


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  • Accession Number: 01660133
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 15 2018 9:29AM