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Berlin Workshop - 30th October 2013

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Berlin workshop

30th October, 2013

 
 
The purpose of the workshop was:
  • Firstly to confirm the common ground among the various stakehodlers represented from different sectors (shippers, logistics providers, industry networks, researchers, policy makers and academics), and geographies (primarily Europe, but also global businesses, USA and Asia) before...
  • Secondly developing a vision to guide future work toards a harmonised framework for carbon footprinting in the freight transport sector,
  • and finally developing an acton plan both within the timescales of COFRET (to the end of May 2014) and beyond.
The slides that guided the main discussion through the day are available here.  Although the majority of the time was led by the COFRET consortium and its Advisory Board, the workshop benefitted from two external presentations, the first of which was given Professor Jens Froese representing the Green Efforts project which is investigating the efficiency of processes at ports.  Whilst this work focuses on energy, energy use clearly has a direct impact on the carbon footprint. Ports represent a subgroup of a wide range of terminal and warehouse types within the transport suppply chain that are currently widely regarded as an information gap in the understanding of the emissions from the full transport supply chain.
 Professor Froese's presentation is available to download here. a few key points to note include:
  •  The extent to which reefer containers are handled, stored in transit and cooled on site has a significantimpact on the overall energy use.
  • Allocation to individual containers is possible and appropriate at an average level for a particular port once the necessary quality management and data processes are in place; however, attempts to allocate emissions to individual containers based on the actual movements within a terminal are neither practical nor fair.
  • Given that this sector is currently a gap in the chain, and widely differing levels of data collecton / accuracy exist, it is better to start with a practical approach that provides consistent results rather than targeting absolute accuracy and risking not achieving industry acceptance.
  • The principles of the approach being developed by Green Efforts for ports would be applicable to other terminal types, with some modification for specific operational differences in, for example warehousing or road / rail transfers.
 Vision
The workshop participants entered into a constructive debate about the requirements for a future harmonised framework for carbon footprinting of freight transport before unanimously agreeing 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 as agreed can be found here.
Moving beyond the vision it was agreed to start focusing on the first two key elements of an action plan to bring the vision to reality, namely the mechanisms that would provide global credibility and global adoption of harmonised methodologies, e.g. ISO standardisation, and an implementation structure, including involvement and governance issues.
Standardisation
the second external presentation was given by Katharina Wuhrl of DIN (the German Institute for Standardisation) who informed the workshop participants about some of the processes and associated timescales that would be available to develop a global standard using the structures and processes of the ISO.  Ms Wuhrl also made reference to some of the existing ISO standards and working groups that currently exist in related topic areas and which might help to shape a future standard on the carbon footprinting of freight transport.  The presentation is available to download here.
 Many of the routes towards standardisation have an extended timescale (2-4 years) which presented something of a barrier to those present. However, one option, in the form of a 'Workshop Agreement' appears at face value to be worthy of further investigation and teh COFRET project will look into whether or not this is a viable route towards a more immediate solution.
Structure / Involvement / Governance
The audience was then split into three groups to discuss possible approaches to an ongoing organisational structure that is focussed around a 'neutral body' - neutral in the sense that it has no affiliation to a particular sector, grography or mode, so allowing stakeholders to interact on an equal basis.
There was agreement from the groups that:
  • There is an urgent need for some form of pragmatic common methodology / standard
  • EN 16258 could provide part of the solution, but there is a need to take account of other existing inputs at the global level (e.g. GHG Protocol and ISO 14067)
  • Technical support and guidance will be required
  • There is not a need for new reporting platforms or tools - merely that existing reporting platforms converge to a common methodology framework
  • Direct industry involvement will remain important to ensure buy-in and subsequent action to measure and reduce emissions
  • To have something sooner rather than later it is enough to have a compatible framework for all modes based on common principles rather than striving for a high accuracy, rigid solution imposed on all modes
  • The newly formed Smart Freight Centre, which has start-up funding to work specifically on this issue appears to have potential to be a good option to act as the neutral body
Conclusions
In summary, the conclusions from the workshop were as follows:
  • A clear long-term vision was agreed as the basis for future global harmonisation with industry uy-in
  • The structure with a neutral co-ordination body guided by direct industry involvement based on the COFRET Advisory Board, but with addition of shippers, NGOs and to ensure global representation
  • Global participation to structure to beconfirmed. Need input from existing market leaders & networks to avoid duplication
  • Direct involvement of industry stakeholders will be essential
  • Develop scope and detail to cover ongoing global engagement / harmonisation & publicity, standard development & practical technical guidance on calculation and reporting
  • Clarify the COFRET transition plan
  • Remember this is all ultimately aimmed at reducing emissions
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