The COFRET project is co-financed
by European Commission Directorate
General for Research & Innovation as
part of the 7th Framework Programme
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COFRET Newsletter May 2014

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Welcome to the fourth and final COFRET Newsletter



The technical elements of the project are beginning to reach a conclusion. In the past few weeks several of the project reports have passed through the review process (both internal to the project team and by our Advisory Board) and have been submitted to our EC project officer.

At this point we would like to thank all COFRET Advisory Board members and stakeholders who have contributed to the COFRET evaluation survey and in particular those, that have reviewed the outputs of the project as compared to the expectations set for us, but more of this later.

Since the last newsletter COFRET has held and been presented at several prestigious events that have really set the scene for future developments in carbon footprint calculations for freight transport; and recently we have signed a joint agreement with ISO to frame the future developments in the form of an International Workshop Agreement.  We’ve also made sure that we’re fully engaged with other initiatives such as the current policy review by the EC and the newly formed industry-led initiative the Global Logistics Emissions Council (or GLEC for short).

 Two important days in July



COFRET's final conference will be held as part of a two-day event, taking place at the premises of the DIN in Berlin on July 8th and 9th.

July 8th will be the initial meeting of the ISO International Workshop Agreement - the first of three workshops to be held in 2014. Together these will lead to the development of an ISO International Workshop Agreement on "International harmonized method(s) for a coherent quantification of CO2 emissions of freight transport". This first workshop will set up the working arrangements for the ISO process, both administrative and technical, as well as setting a starting point for consideration of the technical content. Further two-day workshops will be held in September and November which will concentrate on developing the technical content. The focus will be on:

  • setting a baseline for quantification of CO2 emissions of freight transport at global level that is based on existing industry practice
  • identifying the future priorities for improvement and associated responsibilities for bringing the existing practice together into a single harmonized structure

More details of the first ISO International Workshop Agreement can be found here.


 On July 9th the COFRET final conference will take place. The aim of the conference is two-fold:

  • to present the final outcomes from COFRET and related projects (e-SAVE, Green Efforts)
  • to set the COFRET results in a wider context of industry, policy and standardization developments and discuss the likely future for harmonized carbon calculation and reporting for freight transport

More details of the COFRET final conference can be found here.

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glec.bmpThe link between the two events emphasizes the need for a continuation of a harmonized approach, with the industry-led GLEC working closely with the IWA to ensure that the  framework prepared by industry is shared as widely as possible.

Please note that although the two events are linked in terms of timing and location they are being administered separately and so it is necessary to register for each event on its own.


 Vision for Harmonised Freight Carbon Footprinting - Beyond COFRET



An important step towards future harmonized carbon calculation and reporting for freight transport was taken at a Workshop organised by COFRET in Berlin in October 2013. At the workshop, attended by 40 representatives from a wide range of organisations, the participants unanimously agreed a vision that they believe encompasses the principles that need to be met to ensure compatibility and consistency across future work on this subject.

The vision was based on several basic principles, including:

  • Credible
  • Useable
  • Harmonized around basic principles:
    • use of accurately measured, actual fuel use wherever possible;
    • using common allocation approach;
    • common vehicle operating systems;
    • common reporting formats
    • Applicable:
      • globally
      • across all modes including terminals & warehousing
      • to be based on the best existing, established starting points

The full vision document as agreed can be found here.


 Review of gaps ambiguities and recommendations for methodology harmonisation



One of the key outputs from COFRET – the identification of the gaps and ambiguities of the EN 16258 standard compared to related standards (the ISO family 14064 / 14067 and the GHG Protocol) and tools such as ECO TransIT has now been completed, reviewed by our Advisory Board and submitted to the EC.

Overall the standard is seen as a good starting point although several key areas have been identified where further work is required to close gaps, improve definitions and remove uncertainties:

  • clearer definitions and classification of the vehicle operations that are being considered to aid reliable comparisons
  • a review of the allocation principles to try to optimise fair treatment of different types of cargo
  • variations in the approach taken to default emission factors
  • the need to incorporate information for ports, terminals and handling operations so that the fully supply chain is captured
  • the fact that the principles behind IATA’s newly published recommended practice were not directly taken into account which opens a fresh question about applicability to air freight.


 COFRET Case Studies



One of the main objectives of COFRET is:  “The identification of gaps and ambiguities in the calculation guidelines of the EN16258 standard, relating to coverage of freight transport and logistics, and supported by means of test cases”.

To achieve this objective 10 case study supply chains were defined to identify & test further issues on the calculation of CO2.  In these test cases the application of the EN16258 methodology for the calculation and declaration of energy consumption and GHG emissions of different transport and logistics services was demonstrated.

We followed a supply chain approach -  in which a supply chain consists of both transport legs and nodes as supply chain elements. This implied that the case test team studied the entire supply chain of a certain product rather than individual transport services as per EN16258.

Main Observations

  • None of the test case industry partners had a complete overview of the activities performed in the supply chain elements. This complicated the process of data collection and CO2 allocation.
  • According to EN16258 all activities related to a certain (shipment of a) product within the supply chain, should be taken into account. This often leads to a large number of supply chain elements.
  • Precise definitions are available in supply chain management literature. However, these definitions proved to not always be practical when defining the start and/or end of a supply chain.
  • In most supply chains a few elements cause a disproportionate (or overwhelming) fraction of the total energy consumption to be allocated to a certain shipment.
  • Data on the energy consumption per shipment of large multi shipment carriers, such as deep sea vessels or cargo trains, was especially hard to source.
  • The actual energy consumption allocated to an individual shipment is also influenced by daily changing factors like the weather conditions or the actual fuel efficiency of the truck.
  • The data on the energy consumption at nodes was particularly hard to collect, particularly when working at the shipment level.
  • As EN16258 does not incorporate this, many companies developed tools that match this and do not take the emissions at nodes into account.

The test cases were conducted at companies that shipped a large range of different types of commodities, e.g. liquids, conditioned cargo, bulk cargo, palletized cargo. This ensured as much feedback as possible could be collected from a limited number of test cases. These observations formed the basis for the recommendations to the Commission. The main point concerned the CO2 allocation methodology to be applied in different business settings. There was also a need for a list with validated default values concerning CO2 emissions of transport activities, especially related to deep sea vessels and cargo trains, and also for the activities at nodes. Data on the CO2 emissions for the latter were almost completely missing.


 Sensitivity Analysis



Work has been conducted by COFRET partner PTV to show and provide quantified examples of the variation in results that come from calculations that use different tools and approaches to default data.  The purpose of this was to demonstrate the difficulty that is currently faced by shippers and carriers who need to conduct this type of calculation in the current situation, even with EN 16258 in place.

The results of this analysis will be published within a COFRET report that is currently under review at the EC, but an overview will be presented during the COFRET final conference.


 Dissemination Activities



COFRET has been in evidence at several major events over the past few months including:

  • World Conference for Transport Research, Rio de Janeiro July, 2013
  • European Commission Logistics Conference Logistics in 2030, DG MOVE, Brussels November 2013
  • TRB, Washington January 2014
  • TRA, Paris April 2014
  • GREEN EFFORTS final conference, Brussels May 2014

All presentations are available via the COFRET website.


 Did you find this Newsletter interesting?



For more information see or contact Alan Lewis or Verena Ehrler

Newsletter contributors: Alan Lewis, Jan Kiel, Igor Davydenko, Florian Krietsch & Verena Ehrler

Contact COFRET


COFRET has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 265879.


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