Future Logistics, Environment & Technology Discussion Papers

Hybrid Futures: Emissions Reduction Pathways for Australia's Logistics


This report analyses hybrid logistics options for rapid emissions reduction in Australian logistics. Hybrid approaches combine the strengths of different alternative fuel technologies in ways that mitigate thier existing major downsides whilst supporting significant emissions reductions. In many cases, hybrid approaches leverage initatives that improve business efficiency and ultimately lower operational costs.


Hybrid options include hybrid vehicle combinations and technologies and hybrid logistics chains. Hybrid vehicle combinations and technologies include battery powered trailers; hydrogen injection in internal combustion engines (ICE); ICE vehicles using catenary systems; as well as the integration of bio- or synthetic fuels via existing fuels infrastructure. Hybrid logistics include better integrated rail and marine transport as well as innovative technologies such as platooning using self-guided vehicles, and hub-and-spoke or relay transport networks.


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Decarbonising Australia's Heavy Vehicles: A Reality Check


This report aims to provide a series of data-driven insights on heavy vehicle decarbonisation in Australia. The report examines the inter-relationships amongst operational, tactical, and strategic actions that fleet operation managers and procurement specialists need to undertake to deliver heavy vehicle fleets decarbonisation.


The approach advocated for heavy vehicle decarbonisation promotes a Low rather than no emissions best practice. Based on the insights presented, a series of recommendations on practical actions that fleet operation managers and procurement specialists can take to commence decarbonisation of their heavy vehicle fleets. These actions are grouped in to four overlapping categories:

  • Logistics data analytics;

  • Innovation management;

  • Staff training and engagement;

  • Decarbonisation investment strategy.


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Logistics Decarbonisation Challenges


The logistics sector is under pressure to decarbonise operations as the net zero goal is increasingly adopted by Governments worldwide. Innovations and new technologies have elevated alternative fuel vehicles to genuine contenders to the traditional fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engine. Consequently, alternative fuel vehicles have become a prime contender for decarbonising logistics. However, decarbonising operations is not without its challenges. Failure to understand, prepare and address these challenges could negatively impact the speed at which the logistics sector decarbonises.


To explore the logistics decarbonisation challenges, risks, and opportunities this paper examines five technical, economic and environmental factors identified in evidence being produced by industry and academic research. The five aspects are:

  • Alternative fuel vehicles performance

  • Alternative fuels delivery

  • Renewable energy availability

  • Return on investment

  • Emissions modelling and reporting.


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Supply Chains for Future Transport Fuels and Energy Sources in Australia


The increased adoption of alternative fuels in road transport, such as electricity for battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) has improved the prospects of decarbonising the sector. Indeed, powering BEVs entirely from renewable electricity promises emissions of just 0.6 kg CO2-e/100km2, as opposed to 25 kg CO2-e/100km currently emitted by the average Australian gasoline powered car or 20 kg CO2-e/100km indirectly emitted by BEVs.


However, entirely renewable energy is a long way away from becoming a reality in much of the world, including many Australian states. While electricity generation is increasingly turning renewable, it is important to understand the energy consumption and emissions of BEVs and FCEVs today and in the near future.


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Supply Chains for Vehicle Power Packs: Li-Ion Batteries and Hydrogen Fuel Cells


The push towards transport decarbonisation has led to the emergence of Li-Ion battery (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) powered vehicles as key contenders to traditional fossil fuel vehicles. With an increasing number of countries proposing bans or restrictions to fossil fuel vehicles within the next 10-20 years. In this context it is critical to understand the key challenges and opportunities in the battery and hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing supply chains for road vehicles.


This report is part of a series of discussion papers produced by Foresion that aim to holistically explore contemporary supply chain issues and future directions, focusing on logistics, emerging technologies, and environmental sustainability. These papers are aimed at business practitioners, policymakers and governments as a vehicle for improving integration and visibility along key supply chains.


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Truck Driver Shortages and Landside Port Congestion


Many of the world’s biggest economies are experiencing major supply chain challenges because of the convergence of several factors: worker absenteeism due to the COVID-related restrictions, incidents like the Ever Given Suez Canal obstruction and growing electronic commerce have all impacted on timely delivery of many goods and services.


These disruptions, however, are only part of two broader longer-term challenges facing global supply chains. The first challenge is the significant projected shortage of qualified truck drivers that had already started to create goods, fuel and food supply disruptions for business and the general population in several countries. The second is the global experience of landside port congestion that has emerged partly due to ever greater reliance on mega-ships and mega-ports and have directly contributed to significant landside transport inefficiencies.


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Efficient yet Exposed: Why Container Port Congestion Isn't Going Away Anytime Soon


In the wake of the Ever Given incident in the Suez Canal on March 23rd 1 and the production stoppages due to pandemic-related restrictions, the world witnessed the implications of  serious port congestion. As of the 12th of October 2021, 143 container ships totalling more than 1 million TEU in capacity were at anchor outside some of the world’s largest ports.


Containerised shipping has been the main driving force behind unprecedented growth in international trade. It has been instrumental in the globalisation of supply chains because of its immense transport efficiency. However, it is also vulnerable and recent events have pushed many large companies to adopt less efficient, more expensive, and/or less environmentally sustainable transport modes.


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Research Publications

Road logistics decarbonisation challenges (2024)


This paper analyses contemporary evidence and insights on current and future issues and presents an integrated framework for road freight logistics decarbonization challenges. The framework primarily focuses on decarbonization through alternative fuels and analyses three categories of challenges from socio-technical, economic, and environmental perspectives. The three categories of challenges relate to alternative fuel vehicles and fleets, alternative fuel distribution infrastructure and renewable energy generation. The underlying principle of the framework is to provide a practical tool that supports a more informed view of both the advantages and challenges of transitioning to alternative fuels.


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Why are we still queuing? Exploring landside congestion factors in Australian bulk cargo port terminals (2022)


This research explores truck congestion in 3 bulk cargo ports in Australia to understand contributing factors. Although congestion manifests itself in ports, causal factors may appear across and along supply chains. Some factors include: lack of coordination, misaligned incentives, disruptions, lack of supply chain flexibility, infrastructure limitations, the interdependence of operations or stakeholders' performance expectations


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Using discrete-event simulation to compare congestion management initiatives at a port terminal (2021)


This research uses discrete event simulation to model the operations at a bulk cargo port terminal and evaluate the potential impact of several congestion management initiatives, including IT upgrades, increased truck capacities, terminal infrastructure upgrades and the introduction of a terminal appointment system


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