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What is Freight Decarbonization? And Why is the Government Stepping up it's Efforts for $1.5 Billion in Funding?

Updated: May 10

What is Freight Decarbonization? And Why is the Government Stepping up it's Efforts for 1.5 Billion in Funding?

What is Freight Decarbonization? And Why is the Government Stepping up it's Efforts for $1.5 Billion in Funding?

In the realm of global commerce, the movement of goods has long been synonymous with the burning of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, as the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions, the freight forwarding industry finds itself at a pivotal crossroads. Enter freight decarbonization – a transformative journey towards greener, cleaner, and more sustainable freight transport. In this era of heightened environmental awareness and regulatory scrutiny, freight forwarders are increasingly compelled to navigate a path towards decarbonization, embracing innovative technologies, sustainable practices, and collaborative partnerships. Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the challenges, opportunities, and implications of freight decarbonization for the future of freight forwarding.

On Wednesday, the Biden Administration unveiled a sweeping national objective: transitioning to a zero-emissions freight sector encompassing trucking, railroad, maritime, and aviation operations. The strategy is designed to mobilize business and community leaders, directing various government resources to tackle air pollution hot spots and combat the climate crisis, as outlined in a fact sheet from the administration.

Central to this initiative is the development of a comprehensive zero-emissions freight strategy, aligning closely with the president's ongoing efforts to reduce pollution in both the energy and transportation spheres. This ambitious endeavor marks a significant step towards a more sustainable future, with a particular focus on transforming the landscape of freight transport through the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles.

To support this transition, substantial funding of nearly $1.5 billion is being allocated to bolster the use of these vehicles for freight transport, aimed at enhancing air quality and mitigating pollution.

The largest portion of the plan involves allocating $1 billion through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cities, states, and tribes to replace Class 6 and Class 7 heavy-duty vehicles, including delivery trucks. This funding is also intended to support the development of charging and fueling infrastructure for zero-emissions vehicles. Notably, about $400 million of the $1 billion in EPA funds are earmarked for projects aimed at aiding communities with air and noise pollution mitigation.

Additionally, the Department of Transportation will provide $400 million to improve air quality and reduce pollution for truck drivers, port workers, and communities surrounding ports. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized the importance of addressing the detrimental effects of truck idling at ports, highlighting the adverse impacts on drivers, supply chains, and nearby communities.

A significant portion of the funding will be allocated through the Department of Energy to establish a SuperTruck: Charged program, aimed at demonstrating how vehicle-grid integration enables depots and truck stops to provide affordable, reliable charging while increasing grid resiliency.

While the trucking industry has faced challenges in complying with tougher emissions standards, there has been notable progress in adopting cleaner technologies and infrastructure. For instance, Schneider National has invested heavily in electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure to comply with California's stringent emissions laws.

Similarly, maritime shipping executives have pledged to accelerate the transition to green fuels, and the International Air Transport Association's members have committed to the Fly Net Zero by 2050 initiative. Railroads such as CPKC and CSX are also collaborating to deploy technology to convert diesel-fueled locomotives to hydrogen.

In essence, the Biden Administration's push for a zero-emissions freight sector represents a significant step forward in addressing climate change and promoting environmental sustainability. By investing in cleaner technologies, infrastructure, and collaborative initiatives, the administration aims to pave the way for a greener and more resilient future in freight transportation.

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