DHL Global Forwarding, the freight specialist arm of DHL Group, partnered with Schneider Electric to design and launch an industry-first multi-modal shipping model using sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) to help improve the agility and reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain.
DHL said together with Schneider Electric, it has successfully deployed two innovative multi-modal shipping bridges — between Singapore and North America and between India and North America — to reduce Scope 3 carbon emissions from air freight.
"In total, Schneider Electric plans to design and execute eight global multi-modal bridges with its logistics partners that can be deployed on-demand," it said.
DHL noted that Schneider Electric estimates that these bridges, by using a combination of air and sea transport, will reduce the carbon emissions of these regional shipment lanes by up to 40% compared to normal air fulfilment.
Carbon emissions reduction
Since the start of the pilot in March 2023, both the Singapore to North America bridge and the India to North America bridge operated in partnership with DHL Global Forwarding, have seen up to 20% carbon-emissions reduction.
"For many organizations, air freight is a core part of global supply chain delivery, despite the fact that it emits more carbon than sea freight. While SAFs can reduce the carbon impact, they are significantly more expensive than conventional jet fuel," DHL said.
"So using more sea freight, which is cheaper, produces savings which can be used to purchase SAFs, further reducing carbon emissions," it added.
DHL said multi-modal shipping is widely used in the supply chain industry to support business continuity. However, it has not so far been used to reduce a company's Scope 3 carbon emissions.
"Schneider Electric and DHL Global Forwarding's new pilot schemes have allowed the two partners to test multi-modal shipping as a business-as-usual process on demand," the announcement said.
DHL added that orders are delivered with agility and flexibility, either by air freight or multi-modal shipping, depending on capacity, air surges, margins, customer offers, and stock availability.
"Building on this end-to-end capability, the model is further enhanced with DHL Global Forwarding offering the use of SAF via its GoGreen Plus service, leading to the delivery path being up to 90% carbon-neutral and self-sustaining," it said.
This gives Schneider Electric the agility to plan, decide, procure, execute, and govern the model, achieving a more resilient and agile supply chain.
"Through our GoGreen Plus initiative, we provide our customers with sustainable transport solutions, including SAF. Our partnership with Schneider Electric is instrumental in driving positive change and making sustainable logistics a reality," said Thomas George, chief commercial officer of DHL Global Forwarding.
"At DHL, we have set a goal to reduce GHG emissions from 39 to 29 million tonnes CO₂e by 2030. To achieve this, we are investing €7 billion in clean operations, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to a greener future," he added.
Mourad Tamoud, EVP of Global Supply Chain at Schneider Electric, said: "We can't do this alone: partnerships with our supply chain ecosystem and strategic partners like DHL are essential."
"We hope others are inspired by these possibilities, so we can collectively reduce carbon emissions," he added.
According to its net-zero roadmap, validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, Schneider Electric has committed to be net-zero ready across its operations — with an absolute carbon reduction target of 25% across the entire value chain by 2030.