A Quick Word...

Rail and ports - blazing a green trail to bridge the automotive world

Speaking to the CEO of Mosolf and reading of the activities of the Grimaldi Group and its sister company Valencia Terminal Europa recently I was struck by the amount of will and effort that the logistics sector is showing in the pursuit of greener transport alternatives. As I have written before, the global automotive industry must work harder to take a holistic approach to its products, from transporting components in their raw material state right through to finished vehicles. Without wishing to repeat myself unnecessarily I believe that, as every new vehicle must display its fuel consumption and emissions data, so its total environmental footprint should be available to every vehicle buyer.

For as we move towards more Connected, Autonomous, Sharing and Electrified (CASE) personal mobility, so the ‘back end’ of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution will account for a far greater percentage of vehicles’ impact on the environment that is now the case with the mainly internal-combustion engined global vehicle parc.

Presently an OEM can claim that the back end of its products’ impact is as low as 15% of its lifecycle energy consumption and emissions output. This will change in line with the change of the amount of the OEMs’ input - approximately 30% is made by the OEM and the remaining 70% comes from suppliers and this is very likely to become more like 90% from suppliers, with generic battery cells and packs, motors and controllers and other hardware and software that is best made on a shared and common basis.

Logistics seems to be leading the way in many areas - witness the New Silk Road and the enthusiastic uptake of combined rail and sea services by ports such as Port of Hamburg, whose largest trading partner in 2018 was China; one in three of all containers handled in the port are for or from China, and finished vehicle traffic along this route will grow if OEMs will work together to achieve the economies of scale that combining rail and sea on this route can bring.

Add to this the truly trailblazing implementation of hydrogen power for in-port transport, such as the terminal tractor for Ro-Ro operations at Port of Hamburg, and a mobile hydrogen refuelling station that will supply the fuel needed to ensure the continuous work cycles of the machinery. This also brings with it the possibility of affordable hydrogen filling stations for finished fuel cell vehicles coming through those ports. I believe that we can look forward to a logistics sector that will be the leaders that stimulate the global automotive industry to take a holistic approach to making our personal mobility more sustainable.

Simon Duval Smith

Editor: Simon Duval Smith
Chief Executive: Peter Wooding
Publisher: Paul Singh
Editor-in-Chief: Sam Ogle
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written permission of the publishers. Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this publication, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or changes since going to press, or for consequential loss arising for such changes or inaccuracies, or for any other loss direct or consequential arising in connection with the information in this publication. The views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily also those of the publisher.
Additional images: freepik.com   |   pexel.com  |  unsplash.com  E&EO

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