Improving energy efficiency in supply chains: The case of over-capacity in road freight transportation

Jessica Wehner, Arni Halldorsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Extensive use of fossil fuel to power logistics operations has direct impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-consuming operations in the logistics system need further investigation in order to reduce this negative impact. One promising pathway is over-capacity in the logistics system which has to be identified and ways of how this excessive capacity can be used have to be developed (Wehner et al., 2015). Further, a behavioural change from customers as well as logistics service providers is needed because technical innovations alone are not sufficient to reach this level of energy efficiency (Chapman, 2007). By focusing on freight transport as a key of ‘supply chain execution’, the purpose of this empirical study is twofold: (1) To identify unused potential in road freight transportation; (2) To present ways by which over-capacity in the supply chain can be utilised in order to release this potential.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted, complemented by secondary evidence and a literature review. The sample consists of customers and providers of logistics services, as well as providers for information and communications technology (ICT) in logistics and consultants in energy. The interviews addressed categories developed from the literature review. The categories used are: Energy consumption, energy efficiency, over-capacity, collaboration, the logistics system, consumer influence, e-commerce as well as new and shared economy. The interview guide was adapted to the particular interviewee, his or her work task, the company’s sector and challenges. The analysis of the interviews was twofold: (1) Studying what perception of over-capacity the actors and experts within the field have; (2) Identifying the cause of over-capacity together with the experts in regard to road freight transportation chains into and in the urban area. The secondary evidence included public accessible information from websites in regard to transportation and other supply chain activities. Furthermore, a comparison of e-commerce delivery and return services of eleven different retailers was conducted. The literature review focused on the logistics-energy domain. The review followed three search strategies: Keywords, journals, as well as snowballing and recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNOFOMA 2016 - Proceedings of the 28th Annual Nordic Logistics Research Network Conference : 8-10 June 2016, Turku, Finland
EditorsLauri Ojala, Juuso Töyli, Tomi Soalkivi, Harri Lorentz, Sini Laari, Ninni Lehtinen
PublisherUniversity of Turku
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)978-951-29-6517-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event2016 Annual Conference of Nordic Logistics Research Network (NOFOMA) - Turku, Turku, Finland
Duration: 09.06.201610.06.2016
Conference number: 28


  • 512 Business and Management


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