Friday, April 24, 2015

C.H. Robinson and MIT develop new model to gauge carbon emissions

C.H. Robinson and the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics have collaborated to develop research aimed at finding ways to better quantify carbon emissions at the less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment level.

According to the recent white paper, "A New Model for Estimating Carbon Emissions from LTL Shipments," current methodology for calculating carbon emissions can be highly inaccurate, and determining emissions for LTL is more challenging than for other types of transportation. The research examined the issue using actual shipment- and route-level data from TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson.

"LTL is a significant and growing business, worth $35 billion in the U.S. alone," said Greg West, vice president North America LTL at C.H. Robinson. "And, as global retailing continues to grow, it will be more and more important to understand the implications of LTL carbon emissions."

The well-known Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol) and the EPA’s Smartway Program are currently used to calculate emissions, but neither can account for the unique characteristics of individual LTL shipments.

"We set out to better quantify emissions from LTL shipments and identify flaws in the current methods used," said Steve Raetz, director of research and market intelligence at C.H. Robinson.

C.H. Robinson commissioned the research as a MIT master’s thesis project. The project was able to create models that provide a starting point for analyzing existing methodologies and for developing more accurate approaches for calculating carbon emissions at the LTL shipment level. This information may be helpful in shaping future emissions mandates and regulations.

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