Cargolux looks at green logistics innovation

Cargolux looks at green logistics innovation

From a young fleet of the most advanced aircraft to specially designed cargo programmes that leave minimum impact on environment, Cargolux has been a bellwether of sustainable air cargo business. Geraldine Guebel

Logistics is experiencing constant evolutions and today’s key orientation is sustainable and eco-friendly development: new products and services are increasingly helping logistics operators such as Cargolux to address both their clients’ business requirements and their environmental concerns. The development of long-term strategies and investments to create a sustainable industry are the key to guarantee the future of air cargo. Cargolux is a global pacesetter. We were the first airline to use the Boeing 747 type with its improved fuel efficiency, enhanced payload and reduced noise footprint. With 13 Boeing 747-8 freighters and 11 Boeing 747-400 freighters, Cargolux operates one of the most energy-efficient aircraft fleets for long-haul and intercontinental air cargo.

Lean & Green Award Lean & Green was established in 2008 as an initiative of the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment to reduce the carbon footprints of companies. Today, Lean & Green Europe is Europe’s leading community for sustainable logistics. Their programme combines corporate responsibility for reducing carbon footprints with continuous improvement of operational performance and value for customers. Cargolux became the first airline worldwide to receive the Lean & Green Award in June 2016. The airline was recognized for its commitment to improve its carbon efficiency by 10 percent within five years. Especially Cargolux’s customers and logistics partners, the major forwarders worldwide, are well aware of the Lean & Green programme and appreciate these efforts. Being “Lean & Green” definitely gives Cargolux a competitive advantage and underlines the airlines’ commitment to always deliver the highest service. For years, logistics had been perceived as a low-skilled industry associated with a history of emissions and noise pollution. Today, due to the rapid introduction of green technologies, new IT solutions like tracking systems and advanced automation as well as increased collaboration along the supply chain, this image has been improved.

Green Cargo Programme For many years now, Cargolux has accepted its responsibility to protect the environment and has long taken steps and measures to lessen the impact of its activities as much as possible. It has always been one of Cargolux’s key business principles to strive to operate with the smallest possible impact on the environment, be it in terms of atmospheric emissions, noise or other waste materials. The company underlined this commitment in 2008 by signing up to the UN Global Compact and thus pledging to apply 10 key principles of sound management from the environmental and social point of view. Cargolux has also undergone the ISO 14001 certification, with the objective of continuously improving our environmental performances. The most significant commitment is the investment in a fleet of new, advanced Boeing 747-8 freighters with environmental enhancements that allow Cargolux to set new standards in sustainable airfreight transport. Operating the most efficient and environmentally friendly freighter aircraft available today has not only lowered the noise footprint during take-off and landing by around 30 percent, but also decreased its fuel consumption and lowered the carbon footprint. Cargolux is continuing with its fleet replacement programme that increases the number of the highly advanced Boeing 747-8F in the fleet, an aircraft that was launched by Boeing with Cargolux’s help and input. Each of the company’s new Boeing 747-8Fs has 16 percent more capacity and is considerably more fuel-efficient than the previous generation of 747-400Fs. In addition to its commitment to cutting-edge technology like the ongoing fleet upgrade, the airline joins initiatives to increase its efficiency and reduce CO₂ emissions. Since 2008, Cargolux publishes an annual sustainability report. This report presents the values and initiatives of the airline and demonstrates the link between its strategy and its commitment to a sustainable global economy. The report is prepared and presented in accordance with the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (G4) of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and audited by an external party. Furthermore, Cargolux is a member of IATA’s Air Cargo Carbon Footprint (ACCF) working group. This group has developed a document, which establishes a methodology to measure the CO₂ emissions generated by air cargo at shipment level. Air transport as a whole represents just 2 percent of global carbon emissions. The industry is committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and reducing 50 percent in net emissions by 2050.

Emissions calculator Air cargo already compares favorably with other transport modes like maritime shipping, which accounts for about 4 percent of global carbon emissions. However, the air freight sector has an enormous role to play if aviation is to meet its environmental targets. Cargolux offers its customers an application which allows them to calculate the approximate amount of CO₂ that is produced by transporting a shipment of a given size on one of the routes within the global network. The calculator currently returns CO₂ values for all flights linking our flight destinations. Customers just have to enter a valid city pair (from/to) and shipment weight to obtain the desired result.

Exploring new horizons Fuel remains one of the biggest cost items for airlines and so any innovation that can cut weight and reduce flight times is worth investing in. Routes are reviewed constantly to ensure that clients’ needs can be handled with maximum efficiency at the lowest cost. Flight documentation is carried digitally on cockpit and tablet computers, saving the transport of several kilos per journey. Small changes can have a big impact for an airline serving around 90 destinations worldwide. Another innovation is a new landing system, the Ground Based Augmentations System (GBAS), which facilitates flexible landing while also being environmentally friendly and reducing noise during landing and take-off. Cargolux will have their first landing at Houston George Bush International Airport in September this year. Currently, only two US locations have obtained an operational approval for public GBAS use and support revenue airline traffic.

No headphones needed Cargolux’s investment in a fleet-update has also improved the noise footprint at its hub in Luxembourg. Especially for the surrounding communities, a 30 percent reduced noise footprint is a big achievement. Operating the world’s quietest freighter aircraft in its class, both the Boeing 747-400F and the 747-8F, represents a significant improvement for the neighborhood at the airline’s headquarters in Luxembourg, where most of aircraft movements take place. With the introduction of the 747-8F, which has an advanced engine technology and new wing design, Cargolux has reduced the take-off noise footprint around airports by 85 dB, which is another 30 percent. Moreover, the airline studied and implemented a number of operating procedures to further reduce noise output for the neighboring community with its existing fleet.

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