Each day, sustainability becomes a more and more important matter, and this is as true for the transport and logistics sector as it is for anyone else. With the UK Government’s bid to introduce more eco-friendly policies with their net zero agenda, the race to become greener is only going to speed up. This proposal will see the UK try to reduce emission levels by 78% ahead of 2035, before achieving net zero by 2050.
More than a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport – the majority of this includes road transport vehicles. Therefore, it’s understandable that taking more eco-conscious steps has become a common subject in the transport and logistics industry, with more companies looking to transition to a greener fleet.
If you’re not already, it’s time to put in place measures to make your truck fleet management more environmentally friendly. Reducing your fleet’s carbon footprint will make your business much greener, but it’ll also help cut fleet costs and ensure your employees are able to drive through Clear Air Zones. Of course, it’s not an overnight job, so to help you get started, we’re going to outline some steps you can take to improve the sustainability of your fleet.
Before deciding how you’re going to make your fleet management eco-friendlier, it’s a good idea to set out exactly what it is you want to achieve, as well as timeframes for when you believe the milestones can be hit. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust your expectations throughout the process as you learn more about what is and isn’t viable. However, you should always have goals in place that all team members can work towards.
There are several different goals you could put in place. For example, you could propose to lower your fleet’s CO₂ emissions by a certain percentage and within a certain timeframe. You may have a vision to make a full transition to electric HGV in the next decade. Or maybe you’d like to lower the number of miles your fleet travels through better route planning. No matter what goals you decide to set, always remember to make sure they’re feasible, measurable, and time-bound, so that you can track them as you go along.
The UK government is pulling out all the stops to accomplish its 2050 emissions goal. And because of this, they’ve introduced a range of grants for people purchasing green technology, particularly in the automotive sector. For example, their plug-in car grant (HGVs are eligible for this) has recently been reformed to offer cost incentives for those purchasing electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. For large trucks, the grant will pay up to 20% of the purchase price, and on some large vans the grant will pay up to 35% of the purchase price. It’s worth looking into such grants since they’ll allow you to lower your business’s operating costs whilst preserving the planet.
Driver behaviour can have a huge impact on how eco-friendly your drivers’ trips are. Everything from how efficiently they change gears to how long they idle can affect your fleet’s carbon emissions. Therefore, it’s important to provide your drivers with training opportunities so they can practice eco driving. For example, there are courses supported by the Energy Saving Trust which teach certain techniques to use less fuel. This will not only bring about cost savings but benefit the environment too.
Telematics systems utilise elements such as GPS data, fuel consumption and driving trends, to inform you of accurate and essential data regarding your drivers’ behaviour. To get the most out of your team and ensure their compliance with your training doesn’t fade over time, you may want to consider installing a telematics system in each of your vehicles. These will evaluate your drivers’ performance, and from this you’ll be able to identify any concerning behaviour. Not only will this encourage them to always put their training into practice and improve driver productivity, but it’ll also ensure they always drive in a safe and eco-friendly way on every journey they take.
Knowledge is power – and most certainly when truck fleet management is concerned. Having access to detailed data which highlights where time, energy, and money is being wasted will help you make improvements quickly and effectively.
If you intend to grow your fleet or you’re in a position where you’re able to replace your existing vehicles with newer models, invest in vehicles that can support your goals to become greener.
The most effective way to be eco-friendlier at the minute is to transition to a fleet of electric vehicles – this switch also brings with it a wealth of benefits. Not only will it reduce your entire fleet’s CO₂ emissions, but it’ll also reduce your operational costs, enabling your drivers to access all locations including Clear Air Zones.
Fortunately, the UK’s electric vehicle structure is also becoming more and more advanced, particularly as 2020 experienced the biggest yearly increase of electric vehicle registrations yet. In addition to this, the UK government will also be investing £1.3 billion into the rollout of more charge points up and down the UK as part of its net zero plans. With both of these points in mind, it’s unlikely to be very long before the majority of vehicles on UK roads are operated with electricity. Therefore, taking action and investing now is a wise approach to preparing your fleet for the future.
Keeping on top of the maintenance needs of your drivers’ vehicles is a crucial step in improving sustainability. For example, vehicles with under-inflated tyres, faulty engines, or damaged bodywork will use more fuel in comparison to the ones that are in mint condition. Therefore, in between official services, make sure your team are regularly checking their vehicles for any areas of concern, as well as arranging for them to be dealt with as soon as possible.
You should also put in place servicing and maintenance schedules to be carried out religiously for all your vehicles. As well as this, make sure you’re training your drivers to conduct physical vehicle checks on a daily basis, so that any issues like low tyre pressure or faulty lights can be identified and repaired immediately.
Making sure that your fleet is always in the best shape possible will improve your fuel economy and decrease vehicle emissions, helping you to reach your greener goals.
As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing concern, particularly for the transport and logistics sector, finding ways to make your fleet practice eco driving is a must. Luckily, there are a range of steps you can take to earn some green credentials and minimise your carbon footprint. Taking on board any of the suggestions above will have a massive impact on your carbon emissions, efficiency, and even your bottom line. So, take action now and start making the necessary changes so that you can also start reaping the rewards.
If you’d like to talk to us more about how we can help, call us on 0808 178 9977 or chat to one of our agents right now.