DHL takes carbon out of LCL service

DHL Global Forwarding

While the coronavirus pandemic dented global trade flows this year, DHL Global Forwarding has not taken its eye off an effort to reduce pollution related to ocean container freight transportation.

The subsidiary of German courier giant Deutsche Post DHL Group (OTCMKTS: DPSGY) announced this week it will eliminate carbon emissions related to its customers’ international less-than-container load (LCL) ocean shipments starting Jan. 1.

DHL Global Forwarding said its zero-carbon-emission LCL service offering will be achieved by ensuring its ocean carriers use biofuels to power their containerships.

“Alternative fuels are a key lever to change the fuel mix in ocean freight and ultimately reduce CO2 emissions,” Kathrin Brost, global head of DHL Global Forwarding’s GoGreen Program, told American Shipper.

In recent years, the DHL operation has studied carbon emissions-free or neutral distribution activities in certain trade lanes and markets, such as Finland. 

The forwarder’s customers also previously had the option to book cargo with a carbon-free shipping service via DHL’s online booking portal, MyDHLi Quote & Book.

The company said it is now ready to take its carbon-free shipping initiative global through its LCL business.

“Due to the corona[virus] pandemic, we are in unprecedented times and we want to make sure that climate protection and sustainability stay top of mind,” Brost said. “We have taken the decision to use LCL shipments as this enables us to address a broader range of shippers across different industries and sectors.”

DHL Global Forwarding said it will offer its carbon-free LCL service to shippers at no additional cost.

“By offering this service to customers at no extra cost, we not only want to address the current economic situation in the corona[virus] pandemic, but also further raise awareness of sustainable transport solutions and sensitize a wider range of customers to the issue,” Brost said.

“We also want to send a signal to our partners,” she added. “Only if we succeed together in increasing the demand for sustainable fuels, it will be possible to promote development and production in such a way that sustainable fuels become available at competitive prices.”

DHL Global Forwarding’s GoGreen team, based in Bonn, Germany, tracks which carriers purchase and use biofuels in their operations. “Our partners inject those fuels into ships at several bunkering events throughout the year. The whole process is audited at least once a year,” Brost said.

That information is then electronically shared with DHL Global Forwarding’s ocean freight specialists throughout the world.

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Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.