National Academies Press: OpenBook

Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation (2012)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22668.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22668.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22668.
×
Page 32
Page 33
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22668.
×
Page 33
Page 34
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22668.
×
Page 34
Page 35
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22668.
×
Page 35

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30 C h a p t e r 5 5.1 Benchmarking Framework Overview The freight transportation system is composed of a diverse network of actors. For the purposes of this handbook, it is necessary to group them in such a way that the types of environmental impacts are similar and the metrics and methods described are broadly applicable. This section of the handbook presents metrics for each of the following groups of actors in the freight trans- portation system • Carriers – Truck – Rail – Air – Marine • Freight transfer points – Marine ports – Airports • Shippers and receivers This framework divides those who pay for freight movement (shippers) from those who are engaged in moving the freight (carriers). Carriers are further divided by mode. Shippers with private fleets fall under both the carrier and shipper categories. Many metrics for shippers are also applicable to third-party logistics providers (3PLs), because non-asset-based 3PLs are pri- marily involved in arranging for the purchase of freight transportation services. In the case of asset-based 3PLs (i.e., 3PLs with their own truck fleets), many of the truck carrier metrics will be applicable. Some large freight transfer facilities that are independently operated (e.g., marine ports, air- ports) are broken out as separate framework components because of their typically large scale and the importance of their environmental impacts. Other freight facilities are addressed under the organization type that owns them. For instance, intermodal rail terminals are covered under the rail carrier section. The different types of organizations in the freight sector are mapped into the most applicable framework component. Because of the complexity and variety of different business relation- ships, this fit is not always perfect. Nonetheless, this framework encompasses, and is applicable to, most organizations involved with freight transportation. This benchmarking framework is focused on specific types of organizations and the processes that these organizations control. The level of control an organization exercises and the amount of information that is available to it affect the types of functional units and metrics that can be used to benchmark environmental performance. Those that pay for others to move freight Benchmarking Framework for Addressing Air Quality Impacts of Freight Transportation

Benchmarking Framework for addressing air Quality Impacts of Freight transportation 31 often have less control over specific environmental impacts than the carriers who purchase and operate vehicles and equipment. Because there are many different types of organizations, each framework component includes many different types of metrics. Because every organization is different, the benchmarking process and the metrics described for each framework component should be considered as a starting point for a benchmarking effort. This framework would need further customization for application to specific organiza- tions, freight industry segments, and freight service markets. Exhibit 11 shows the framework components and where different fleet types, facility types, and organization types fall within this framework. Benchmarking Levels For each group of actors identified in Exhibit 11, Chapter 6 presents metrics to be used in benchmarking at four different levels: fleet, facility, organization, and corridor. These four levels are described below. Fleet Level At the fleet level, a benchmarking study would compare the environmental performance of fleets of vehicles, vessels, or aircraft within the same mode. For example, a performance measure might be the amount of CO2 emissions per ton-mile transported. From such a study, a carrier Framework Components Fleets Facilities Organization Truck Carriers Combination trucks Single-unit trucks Hubs/distribution centers for LTL and express carriers Truck terminals For-hire carriers (truckload, less-than- truckload, specialized, parcel, drayage, etc.) Shippers with private fleets Asset-based third-party logistics providers Carriers offering dedicated service Rail Carriers Line-haul locomotives Switching locomotives Intermodal distribution centers Rail yards/transload parks Carriers (Classes I, II, and III, switching railroads) Marine Carriers Oceangoing vessels (dry bulk, tanker, container, break bulk) Inland waterway vessels (See Marine Ports) Carriers (oceangoing, inland waterway, short sea) Air Carriers All-cargo aircraft Passenger/cargo aircraft Ground-service equipment (See Airports) Carriers (all-cargo, express, passenger/cargo) Marine Ports Freight vessels Tugboats & other harbor craft Cargo-handling equipment Seaports Inland waterway ports Freight terminals Public port authorities Freight terminal operators Airports All-cargo aircraft Passenger/cargo aircraft Ground-service equipment Passenger/cargo airports All-cargo airports Airport freight terminals Airport authorities Freight terminal operators Shippers & Receivers Forklifts & other freight handling equipment Loading/unloading facilities Warehouses Distribution centers Shippers Receivers Non-asset-based third- party logistics providers Exhibit 11. Framework organization.

32 handbook on applying environmental Benchmarking in Freight transportation could learn how its choice of equipment (e.g., age, aerodynamic features, type of tires, use of alternative fuels), logistics patterns (which could affect empty miles), and operator behavior (e.g., engine idling habits) affect its comparative environmental performance. As discussed in greater detail below, it may be advisable to focus a fleet-level environmental benchmarking study on fleets of vehicles, vessels, or aircraft that perform similar types of opera- tions (e.g., long-haul truckload service vs. pick up and delivery). Facility Level At the facility level, a benchmarking study would compare the environmental performance of ports, airports, rail yards, warehouses, or other freight-related facilities. For example, in the case of marine ports, the comparison could consider CO2 emissions per ton of through cargo (both inbound and outbound). Factors influencing the environmental performance of marine ports would include the availability of on-dock rail, efficiency of terminal operations, availability of cold-ironing, and type and age of cargo-handling equipment. The mix of freight handled by a particular facility (e.g., bulk vs. container, refrigerated vs. non-refrigerated) will affect its environmental performance. This issue can be handled through the selection of performance metrics or the choice of facilities to be included in the benchmark- ing study. Organization Level At the organization level, a carrier, shipper, or receiver could benchmark the environmen- tal performance of its total operations against the performance of other organizations. At this level of benchmarking, the environmental performance of an organization’s fleets and facilities would be aggregated. For example, a performance metric for this level of benchmarking could be CO2 emissions per package (a metric used by UPS). Benchmarking at this level would take into account factors such as the number and location of an organization’s facilities and its usage of different transport modes. As with the other benchmarking levels, differences among organizations must be considered and can be accounted for, at least in part, by the choice of performance metrics and the selection of peers to be included in the analysis. Corridor Level This framework labels as “corridor-level” those benchmarking efforts that have a geographic focus or that extend across organizations and modes. For example, one could benchmark carriers (or combinations of carriers) that offer service on a particular trade lane or origin-destination pair. For example, the Clean Cargo Working Group, a coalition of shippers and ocean carri- ers, is calculating average CO2 emissions per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU)-km for each trade lane being served by containership operators. For the truck and rail modes, route length, mode availability, terrain grade, and availability of backhaul traffic could all affect the environmental performance of a corridor. Alternatively, a corridor-level analysis could also assist in the configuration of a supply chain. If an organization is evaluating locations for a new manufacturing facility, it would be beneficial to understand how that choice would affect the environmental performance of the new logistics and transportation patterns that would arise from the facility in question. For example, if rail connectivity is very different in two corridors, that fact would likely be a strong determinant of the comparative environmental performance of those corridors. Exhibit 12 shows how the different benchmarking levels used by the framework (facility, fleet, organization, corridor) are related to each other and the supply chain.

Benchmarking Framework for addressing air Quality Impacts of Freight transportation 33 Defining the Scope of the Environmental Impacts Considered To benchmark environmental performance, it is necessary to establish the scope (or bound- ary) within which environmental impacts will be considered. For each organization type (truck carrier, rail carrier, shipper, etc.) and benchmarking level (fleet, facility, company, corridor), this framework considers impacts that are under the control of the organization studied. To explain this concept further, it is useful to consider how widely accepted protocols for reporting GHG emissions address this issue. The World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD) provide widely accepted protocols for preparing GHG emission inventories for corporations and other like entities in Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (WRI/WBCSD Revised Edition). These protocols classify GHG emission sources into three scopes, as follows: • Scope 1—Direct GHG emissions, • Scope 2—Indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity and steam, and • Scope 3—All other indirect GHG emissions. Scope 1, direct emissions, are generally those emissions that result from activities or sources over which the organization has direct ownership or operational control, such as on-site com- bustion of fossil fuels in company-owned vehicles and facilities. Scope 2, or indirect emissions, are emissions that are a consequence of activities of the company, but which occur at sources owned or controlled by another company. This would typically include purchased electricity. Scope 3 emissions are usually not included in individual emissions inventories. Scope 3 emis- sion sources include transportation of purchased and sold goods, business and commuter travel of employees, and life-cycle emissions (e.g., emissions associated with the production and dis- posal of materials used). Some of the Scope 3 activities listed may appear under Scope 1 if the pertinent emissions source is owned or controlled by the company. In general, this handbook discusses metrics that are relevant to the freight transportation entities that control the emissions source. Emissions metrics may vary depending on the Exhibit 12. Framework overview.

34 handbook on applying environmental Benchmarking in Freight transportation level of control exercised. For instance, a truck carrier or private fleet has more control over transportation operations than a shipper who hires a truck carrier to move goods. The func- tional units, metrics, and available data are also different for different types of freight-sector entities and the specific contractual and organizational methods they use to manage freight transportation. For example, a shipper with a private fleet may be able to easily obtain data on the percent of empty miles travelled by its own fleet. A shipper that hires a carrier to move its product may not have access to this information if the carrier considers the information proprietary. 5.2 Types of Indicators and Metrics ISO 14031, the ISO guidance for environmental performance evaluation, describes three basic types of indicators that can be used to support environmental management. This ISO standard distinguishes between indicators of environmental conditions and indicators of environmental performance. It then subdivides the latter category into management performance indicators and operational performance indicators as follows: • Environmental condition indicators provide information about the local, regional, national, or global condition of the environment. • Management performance indicators provide information on the activities of an organiza- tion’s management that may affect the environmental impacts of its operations (e.g., audits, training, policies, and procedures). • Operational performance indicators provide information on the environmental perfor- mance of an organization’s physical operations; these are often related to inputs (e.g., materials, energy), physical processes, and outputs (e.g., shipments, emissions, waste). The sample benchmarking metrics offered in this handbook are primarily operational perfor- mance indicators (e.g., pounds of emissions per ton-mile). However, for environmental bench- marking at an organizationwide level, there are examples of both management and operational performance indicators. Although environmental condition indicators may be valuable in some contexts, they are typically not very helpful in a benchmarking context, because environmental conditions are virtually always subject to many influences beyond those of a single vehicle, fleet, or organization. ISO 14031 also provides the following typology for quantitative performance indicators: • Absolute indicators—data representing total quantities of inputs or outputs (e.g., tons of CO2 emissions from truck operations). • Relative or normalized indicators—those that relate inputs or outputs to some measure of business service provision (e.g., gallons of fuel consumed per revenue ton-mile). • Indexed indicators—these link the data to a chosen standard or baseline (e.g., percent change in annual CO2 emissions compared to emissions from a base year). • Aggregated indicators—those that combine data of the same type from different sources (e.g., CO2 emissions from all transport activities). • Weighted indicators—those that sum different output indicators through the use of conver- sion factors (e.g., Wal-Mart’s proposed Product Sustainability Index). Of these types of quantitative performance indicators, relative or normalized indicators are the most valuable for the purposes of benchmarking, because they allow comparisons among fleets, facilities, organizations, or corridors. Therefore, most of the sample performance metrics presented in this document are normalized in some way.

Benchmarking Framework for addressing air Quality Impacts of Freight transportation 35 Some of the sample metrics presented in this handbook measure the extent to which a par- ticular environmental technology or practice has been adopted. At first glance, these metrics do not appear to lend themselves to a benchmarking exercise; after all, benchmarking is premised on measuring performance first and then uncovering the practices that contribute to superior performance. However, this type of metric is included because in some cases it may be too diffi- cult or too expensive to quantitatively measure the environmental performance of freight move- ment. In those cases, assessing whether a carrier or shipper is using specific energy efficiency or environmental management practices is a “second-best” means of judging environmental performance. The next chapters present overviews of each mode, major facility (ports, airports), and shippers/receivers and provide some of the metrics that can be used at different scales of benchmarking analysis.

Next: Chapter 6 - Environmental Benchmarking Approaches and Metrics by Sector »
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 Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation
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TRB’s National Freight Cooperative Research Program (NFCRP) Report 21: Handbook on Applying Environmental Benchmarking in Freight Transportation explores how benchmarking can be used as a management tool in the freight and logistics industry to promote environmental performance.

The report provides a step-by-step overview of the benchmarking process and describes a framework for applying this process to freight carriers, shippers, and freight hubs.

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