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- PublicationsGENERAL LOGISTICSSUSTAINABLE LOGISTICSCLIMATE CHANGEFREIGHT TRANSPORTINFRASTRUCTURE AND PROPERTY
The role of government in promoting green logistics
Governments have a long history of intervention in the freight transport sector, but in many countries their pursuit of sustainable logistics is comparatively recent phenomenon. The chapter briefly reviews the declared objectives of green freight strategies in the UK and Germany before going on to examine the main policy instruments available to government. These are classified into seven categories: taxation, financial incentives, regulation, liberalization, management of nationalized industries, infrastructure and land-use planning and advice and exhortation. Figure 1 shows the interrelationships between these different sets of policy measure and the five main ways of reducing the environmental impact of freight transport: ie reducing transport intensity, shifting mode, improving vehicle utilization, raising energy efficiency and switching to greener fuels. Each of these interrelationships are examined and examples given of policy interventions that have been tried with varying degrees of success. Few governments have an explicit policy of reducing freight transport intensity as this might inhibit economic growth. Instead public policy makers aim to decouple economic growth from negative freight transport externalities. Some of the measures they have applied can achieve this by influencing several freight parameters simultaneously. For example, raising fuel taxes promotes the use of less energy-intensive modes like rail and encourages carriers to make better use of vehicle space and fuel. Regulation has also been shown to be effective in reducing exhaust emissions from freight vehicles, while schemes that advise and encourage, most notably the US SmartWay programme, can build momentum for environmental improvement across the logistics sector. International agencies have a key role to play in the dissemination of best practice in the formulation and implementation of sustainable logistics policies.
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