5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Transport Goods

Blog / 5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Transport Goods

When Kermit the Frog said “It’s not easy being green,” he wasn’t joking. According to the Climate Council, the transportation sector in Australia has witnessed a 62.9% rise in CO2 emissions since 1990. That figure is expected to rise over the next few years, but the good news is that transportation companies are trying to green up their act.

Companies are aiming to lower their carbon footprint by utilising a variety of eco-friendly methods to transport their goods. As consumers, we can do our part by supporting businesses who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. The following are 5 “green” methods for transporting goods.


  1. Inland barges

Calm freshwater lakes and huge, wide rivers are some of the most eco-friendly shipping routes in the world. In general, maritime transportation is the most fuel-efficient out of any transportation sector and inland barges are the cleanest in terms of transporting oversized, high-density cargos. Nothing beats a single diesel-powered towboat that has enough power to push 15 fully loaded barges (which carries an equivalent of 800 truckloads or 200 rail cars), all while emitting a fraction of the greenhouse gas and burning far less fuel.

On a single gallon fuel, an inland barge is capable of carrying a ton of cargo over 500 miles (or 804 kilometers). Even rail transport is half as fuel-efficient as an inland barge, which can only go for 200 miles (or 321 kilometers) on a single gallon.

  1. Freight trains

When it comes to transporting goods across land, freight trains are the most efficient. Trains are four times more efficient at transporting goods compared to traditional trucks and a single freight train can carry almost 280 truckloads, depending on the cargo. Modern trains are more energy efficient and with recent technological breakthroughs on locomotive design, future freight trains are expected to be 25% more fuel-efficient than current models.

A good example are genset locomotives which are basically the next generation of freight trains. Instead of using a large diesel engine, these locomotives use three small engines to power the drivetrain. Only one engine is used for low-horsepower applications and all three are used for challenging cargo or terrain. By adjusting the horsepower use, genset locomotives lower wasted fuel consumption by as much as 25%.

  1. Biodiesel trucking

Biodiesel fuel refers to a type of diesel fuel derived from animal fats or vegetable oils. One of the most popular sources of biodiesel is soybean oil. Waste cooking oil from restaurants can also be converted into biodiesel through a process called transesterification.

The majority of freight trucks use traditional diesel fuel. Large trucks run on diesel engines to generate enough torque when pulling heavy loads. The downside is that diesel fuel combustion contributes to severe greenhouse emissions, which is why some transport companies opt for biodiesel as a means of reducing their carbon footprint.

Blending biodiesel with conventional diesel can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions on freight trucks. The higher the biodiesel concentration, the more beneficial it is to the environment. For example, pure biodiesel reduces hydrocarbon emissions by as much as 70% and carbon monoxide emissions by 50%.

Switching to biodiesel is fairly easy since there’s no need for engine modifications and the majority of freight trucks can use it immediately.

  1. Hybrid delivery vehicles

The humble Toyota Prius elevated green driving to the mainstream thanks to its hybrid gas engine and electric motor. As transport companies continue to seek more eco-friendly ways of transporting goods, hybrid delivery vehicles are slowly being adapted both shipping and delivery industries.

The world’s top shipping companies are leading the initiative, with FedEx operating a fleet of 408 fuel-alternative delivery trucks. 365 of the trucks are hybrid delivery vehicles while the remaining 43 are all powered by an electric motor. UPS on the other hand, operates 380 hybrid delivery trucks to help cut their overall carbon dioxide emissions.

Truck manufacturer Eaton released a hybrid diesel-electric engine that’s suited for heavy-duty applications. The engine switches to its electric motor when running at 30 mph and relies on the diesel engine for more horsepower on demanding applications.

  1. Foot couriers

While the aforementioned methods are green ways of transporting goods, foot couriers are undoubtedly the greenest of them all. As cities become more populated and traffic becomes more stiflingly slow, transport companies deploy their fleet of foot couriers for delivering cargo. Not only are they able to cut through painful traffic, but they also reduce unnecessary fuel consumption by 100%.

For example, DHL couriers use large plastic carts to weave through congested areas of Wall St. since 1984. The carts rely solely on human power and consumes zero fuel, although the average human produces 2.3 pounds (1.04 kilograms) of carbon dioxide a day. In situations where the use of delivery trucks aren’t feasible, foot couriers are the number one solution. This becomes even more important as people all over the world continue to use resources at a much faster rate than ever before.

The benefits of going green go beyond environmental factors. Health and economy are also beneficiaries of eco-friendly transportation as well. The challenge is on transport companies on how they can implement these green methods and how we, as consumers, can support companies who are aiming to reduce their carbon footprint.

It may sound like a daunting task, but with significant steps already taken by leading transport companies, it’s only a matter of time before other companies follow suit and transport goods in a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. For any additional information with regards to sustainability or transport services, get in touch with Adlam today who are the leading removalists in Perth.