Posts Tagged “shipping delays”

Keeping It Fresh: Sustainability Challenges While Parked

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By Robert Johnson ALC Richmond

Anyone who has worked in this industry has heard these words before: “I’ve been here three hours burning fuel, do you know when they’ll load/unload me?”

It’s never easy to talk a driver into being patient after telling them their load is ready, or the receiver has a dock door waiting. Delays at shipping or receiving run out the working clock on a driver’s ELD, burn diesel fuel unnecessarily on power units, and reefer units as well, should they be loading refrigerated items. With the push in the past few years for sustainability, keeping emissions low, and the ever-present argument for global warming, this topic has become a cornerstone of manufacturing operations across the globe.

“How do we do better with our sustainability?” Personally, I’ve seen more questions about sustainability and similar action plans when receiving RFI’s for manufacturer’s freight bids than I ever have before.   With normal power units burning up to one gallon/hour while idling, and reefer units burning on average one gallon/hour while running – it can be costly to sit. With the national average for diesel at $5.71 (as of this writing), carriers’ fuel bills have the potential to impact their overall operating costs, in a large way. Additionally, carriers who haul refrigerated and perishable freight must run their reefer units on the ‘continuous’ mode, as opposed to ‘cycle’ or ‘stop-start’ mode, and will incur even greater fuel costs. Those micro situations turn into macro costs, and environmental impact, when we look at the bigger picture five or ten years down the road. On the flip side, greater fuel costs sure beat the alternative of an expensive temperature rejection and subsequent claim from trying to save a buck or two by running a reefer on ‘stop-start’ mode.”

One suggestion, per the DOE, states depots, shippers, and receivers alike can install external power plug-ins for reefer units, and a temp-controlled waiting area for drivers if wait times are unavoidable, to aid in truck and trailer emissions savings. 

Per Statista, “The United States is by far the largest producer of transportation emissions worldwide”, with medium and heavy trucks accounting for 22% of CO2 emissions produced nationwide.

In 2021, Freightwaves reported, “Transportation was responsible for about 26% of Co2 emissions globally, and 28% of emissions nationwide” (EPA).

The question is – how much of this could be combated with a combination of lower dwell times at shippers and receivers alike, and the ability to plug into an electrical source to idle when necessary? And, if the impact study is as positive as we believe it would be, how do we begin to streamline communication between so many moving parts within the supply chain?


Robert Johnson has been with the Allen Lund Company since October of 2016 and is currently a Business Development Specialist in the Richmond office. Johnson attended Longwood University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. Robert is currently participating in an in-house management training program with ALC.

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