How can logistics systems become more energy efficient?

​In her doctoral thesis, Jessica Wehner studies how energy efficiency in logistics systems can be improved in order to contribute to an environmentally sustainable development. One conclusion is that the end consumer needs to be involved more actively in the logistics service creation.

What challenges do you focus on in your research?

​“A major challenge we face today is high greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Logistics and its key activity – freight transport – stand for a large amount of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Suggested approaches, such as new technologies, electrification and a shift to fossil-free fuels, are not enough to change our current logistics systems. Therefore, I focus on reducing the total energy consumption by improving energy efficiency in logistics systems.”

How do you aim to solve the problem with your research?

​“The overall environmental problem is addressed by expanding current understandings of how environmentally sustainable development can be reached by improving energy efficiency in logistics systems. Therefore, I study how structural characteristics shape energy efficiency in logistics systems, which initiatives can be taken by logistics key actor, namely the logistics service provider, and how customers can co-create logistics services that all contribute to improving energy efficiency in logistics systems.”

What are the main findings?

​“The main findings include the identification of energy-efficient characteristics in the logistics fulfilment around the point of consumption. This means, I studied how goods can be distributed to private households and household waste can be collected from that same point in a more energy-efficient manner, for example by increasing the capacity utilisation. Furthermore, I studied what initiatives need to be taken by logistics service providers and how they can mature to environmentally sustainable providers. In addition, I revaluated the roles of the different actors in the logistics service triad and acknowledges that the end consumer needs to be involved more actively in the logistics service creation.”

What do you hope your research will lead to?

​“I hope my research can help to use less energy in logistics and contribute to environmental sustainability. Practical implications contain the maturation of the logistics industry, involvement of customers in the logistics services creation and the demonstration of tools to do so, such as the service blueprint. In addition, a theoretical contribution is the conceptualisation of energy efficiency as a value to providers and customers, that is co-created by both actors.”
 
Text compilation: Daniel Karlsson
Photo: Carolina Pires Bertuol

More about Jessica Wehner 

Published: Fri 24 Jan 2020.