April 11, 2020

Greener Transportation

Europe Intermodal
Intermodal transportation
Photo credit: LKW Walter

Despite the significant challenges in using intermodal transportation in Europe, our locations in the region increased their use of this energy-efficient method sixfold in 2019. The effort eliminated 1,500 metric tons of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Intermodal involves transporting truck trailers by railcars or ships as far as possible, with the trailers then loaded onto a truck for the final distance. Transporting product by rail and ships is more energy-efficient than trucking, which translates into reduced GHG emissions.

While intermodal has been used for decades in the U.S., varying country regulations and infrastructure have kept it from gaining popularity in Europe. The width of the rail tracks, for example, can vary from one country to another. There is also a shortage of suitable trains.

In 2018, our European operations used intermodal transportation for 3 percent of all truckloads. That increased to 19 percent in 2019 due to a focused effort by our transportation team to source qualified intermodal shipping partners.