Consumer demand for more sustainable products is pushing both shippers and carriers to shift toward more eco-conscious operations, according to a report from Breakthrough, a transportation management technology provider.
Despite industry headwinds, nearly 94% of transportation professionals say consumer demand for more sustainable products makes reducing emissions a top priority for the next year, Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin-based Breakthrough said.
The data comes from the firm’s “2023 State of Transportation study,” which surveyed 500 transportation leaders, including carriers and shippers, at enterprises across the United States about their goals, priorities, and predictions for the next 12 months.
As such, electric and alternative energy vehicles are in-demand green solutions, the study found. The majority of shippers (99%) agree they would take advantage of these options if carriers in their networks offered them — and 79% strongly agree. On the carrier side, nearly all respondents (97%) see value in adding EVs to their fleets — and 59% plan to do so by the end of 2023.
“Inflation, volatile fuel prices, and capacity fluxes will continue to weigh heavily on the transportation industry, making it more important for organizations to prioritize efficiency measures,” Matt Muenster, chief economist at Breakthrough, said in a release. “Despite these economic hurdles, the desire for sustainable practices remains. With an abundance of intermodal capacity and a surge of investment in alternative energy technology and vehicles, shippers and carriers have an opportunity to shift toward more eco-conscious operations. This report provides a comprehensive overview of how organizations are tackling both economic and ecological challenges.”
In additional results, nearly two-thirds (63%) of transportation leaders expect linehaul rates to remain higher than average as an outcome of increased labor and equipment costs, despite Breakthrough’s long-term expectations and internal data indicating truckload linehaul rates will approach their floor toward the end of this year. This contrast, as well as volatile diesel fuel prices, limited freight capacity, and driver shortages, are significant concerns for shippers and carriers moving forward.
According to Breakthrough, a key tool for handling those challenges is to create better efficiencies by forging mutually beneficial partnerships. As shippers and carriers nurture and grow partnerships, cost, capacity, service, and carbon will be top-of-mind, the company said.
Breakthrough, which is owned by the energy and automotive sector logistics provider U.S. Venture Inc., says it empowers shippers with data, technology, and market knowledge to reduce cost, create fair partnerships, and improve transportation network efficiency and sustainability. The company says its technology uncovers freight optimizations and removes distortion from traditional transportation practices, helping to build a more effective and sustainable freight ecosystem.