“Silent” trucks for downtown deliveries
Carrefour is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its logistics chain, opting for alternative forms of transport where possible and optimising road transport in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Thanks to various actions implemented, the Group saved 16,600 tons of CO2 on its overall upstream and downstream transport, resulting in 51,000 fewer trucks on the roads in France in 2010.
However, the environmental impact of trucks is not just measured by their particle emissions, but also with regards to their sound emissions. In 2009, Carrefour, together with Paris City Hall, led an experiment on “silent” trucks in order to reduce noise pollution in the city center. This test has proved to be very successful, with noise emissions being reduced by three. Indeed, the noise level observed during the use of these specific trucks lies around 60 decibels, which is at the level of sound of a normal conversation.
Leading to such success, various improvements were made: each truck was given a special coating that reduces noise as well as a noiseless tail-board. Drivers participate in a dedicated education and training programme during which they are encouraged to adopt new driving behaviors such as turning off the engine during the unloading of the vehicle and carefully opening and closing doors. In addition, the City of Paris partnership enables facilities to further reduce noise emissions: sidewalks in front of some stores have been lowered in order to avoid the use of a steel plate for pallet truck transfers. Such steel plates are a major source of noise during deliveries.
These successful tests led to 67 “silent” trucks that respect the PIEK standard (Dutch label guaranteeing noise emissions below 60 decibels) supplying more than 150 stores located in Paris, Lille, Le Mans, Lyon, Nice and Toulouse. By the end of 2011, some 130 trucks will deliver goods to nearly 300 stores in downtown locations. By 2012, they will be used for all stores that are identified as a source of nuisance for local neighborhoods.
The deployment of these vehicles constitutes a practical implementation of the work that Carrefour initiated in 2004 with ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maitrise de l’Energie – The French Agency for Environment and Energy), as part of a framework agreement on the development of alternative transportation. Effective support from policymakers is essential in getting such initiatives on the ground and running.
With regards to road freight transport, further environmental improvements can be achieved through a cost-efficiency policy mix, including further development of vehicle technologies, the development of alternative fuels and energies, infrastructure improvements, logistics and transport management, fleet renewal, as well as driver-training/customer incentives.
Mobility and transport in urban areas, inter-urban corridors and interfaces are key areas of interest for technological investments in the transport area.
In a first step, the EU should remove obstacles to more efficient road freight transport, such as infrastructure bottlenecks and cabotage restrictions.