PML tackling the Carbon Emissions target

PML Article in Focus Feature July 2021

This month #PML‘s Mike Parr is a guest contributor to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s magazine to talk about tackling the carbon emissions target.

Perishable Movements Ltd (PML), the global perishable cargo specialist, is taking a proactive approach to reducing the company’s carbon emissions. For a business that is focused on the transfer of temperature sensitive cargo by air, road and sea, this is a sizeable challenge and one which requires a matched input from those responsible for addressing the emissions associated with these modes of transport.

For its part, PML has researched the opportunity to switch to electric trucks, as well as reviewing the potential to move to more sustainable fuel types. To date, despite investing considerable time to seek out suitable alternatives, the options remain very limited and are currently not commercially viable.

As of 1 st April of this year, the entire fleet of PML trucks (which amounts to 9 artics) are Euro VI compliant, which represents a positive step towards controlling carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.

The Sales Director has taken delivery of an electric company car and as and when company car renewals arise, PML will look at a shift toward electric or at least hybrid vehicles. This is despite the hefty price tag associated with such purchases, an investment that is worthwhile given the clear benefits to the environment.

Our 64,000 square foot warehouse regularly receives and packs consignments of food and as such, generates a substantial amount of cardboard and polythene-based packaging. The business now recycles all of its cardboard and polythene to minimise the contribution to landfill and maximise the potential to reuse these materials.

As a logistics business, we have a significant number of employees who are charged with providing administrative support. The back office to PML’s operations is essential to its success and while it may not be able to fully address the emissions targets via our transport teams, the office is making great strides in adopting new environmentally friendly practices.

At our Heathrow headquarters, we have taken the decision to change 80% of our lighting to being motion-sensor driven, resulting in a reduction in electricity consumption which in turn, will negatively impact on the business’s carbon emissions footprint.

Looking ahead, PML is about to take on a new facility outside of the Heathrow area and we are proud to confirm that these premises will be featuring solar panels which will also help to reduce electricity usage and therefore will contribute to a drop in carbon emissions.

PML is focused on looking at further ways in which to operate as an environmentally responsible business and will continue to adopt new practices which will enable it to deliver against the sustainability agenda. However, this is surely an area where the industry needs to unite to instigate real change?

We would advocate that an industry-wide initiative is launched which specifically targets the need to tackle carbon emissions, which enables us to work with those involved in providing the vehicles which we are so reliant on. Manufacturers of trucks need to feel reassured that there is a genuine appetite for change and more needs to be done to ensure that there are financial incentives for investing in eco-friendly modes of transport which will go towards offsetting the initial inflated upfront payment.

There needs to be clearer thinking about we work together to improve emissions. We’ve already seen a clear example of how the push towards demonstrating clear commitment to environmental concerns can sometimes be at the expense of failing to recognise a detrimental effect on a whole industry sector. The Mayor of London’s decision to extend the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) to make it tougher for heavier vehicles to drive within the Greater London area – including Heathrow – has effectively rendered Heathrow’s mission to become an equal to Paris CDG and Amsterdam (in terms of airfreight) impossible. The excessive charges associated with the LEZ combined with the eye-watering penalty fees has resulted in a number of European hauliers refusing to come to Heathrow. So, while the Mayor’s emissions target will benefit, this is at an unacceptably high price for the industry. For PML, this latest attempt to deal with emissions has made it untenable to extend our operations in Heathrow. Dealing with emissions we wholeheartedly agree with. But this needs to be implemented with clear proof of joined up thinking which can only be achieved if the industry is invited to collaborate with those making the decisions.