NLA puts focus on the Nordic road to decarbonisation for road freight transport

Date: 01, March 2017
PRESS RELEASE  The Nordic Road to Decarbonisation of Road Freight Transport: The Nordic countries are facing some of the highest targets for reductions of CO2 emissions for road transport as proposed by the European Commission. At the same time the Nordic countries have already progressed well in reducing CO2 and in planning for future reductions with ambitious national targets. Nordic Logistics Association (NLA) focused on these challenges at a well attended seminar in Bruxelles on March 1, 2017 held at the Permanent Representation of Sweden.

Opening the seminar, Mr Erik Østergaard (President of NLA) stated that we are concerned about the share that we as Nordic road transport sector is expected to deliver and we are concerned about the tools and methods we will have available – or not available - to reach these goals. “The Nordic countries have several common characteristics, which differ from other parts of Europe. The countries are sparsely populated in huge parts of the area, have well developed infrastructure for both road and rail, as well as maritime and aviation transport, have access to significant ressources within agriculture and forestry and have both high-technology industry and more traditional industry with different transport needs,” stated Mr Østergaard.

For the Nordic countries, this makes sustainable biofuels and longer and heavier trucks key to meeting the targeted reductions. Yet, these two measures are the subjects EU does not like to talk about.

Geir A Mo, CEO from the Norwegian Road Transport Association, argued for why biofuels, such as the advanced biofuel HVO is a good solution and should be promoted. However, the opposite is happening these days and prices for HVO are skyrocketing, pushing hauliers back to using old-fashioned diesel. Not a good development! What are the alternatives? One example is the NikolaOne electric truck, a powerfull, clean vehicle but only available from 2020 at the earliest.

Geir A Mo also referred to the recently published statistics, which show that in five years the number of tonnes transported across the border into Norway has increased by 7,7%, but the freight per truck has decreased by 12,6%. This means the equivalent of 570 empty trucks cross our border every day. “We suspect this is related to systematic and planned cabotage operations. An increasing number of foreign trucks driving into Norway with a symbolic cargo on board, just to gain access to the lucrative domestic market…We all know that cabotage was supposed to help the climate, by reducing the number of empty trucks on our roads. That certainly doesn`t seem to be the case anymore.”

The seminar included presentations from the Ms Åsa Webber (DPR for Sweden), Ms Merja Kyllönen (MEP, Finland), Mr Peter Vis (DG MOVE), Mr Urban Wästljung (Scania), Mr Alarik Sandrup (Lantmannen) and Mr Stef Cornelis (T&E). 

In particular the point was made that getting biofuels right is possible - even for so called first generation biofuels. Sustainable biofuels are being produced today as a serious product, not just a niche production. It was also emphasised that biofuels are necessary as a contribution to reducing CO2 in order to reach the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

To conclude, Ms Tove Winiger, Public Affairs Officer at Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies, stated that “There is no conflict between reducing emissions and other important issues within the field of road transports. Reducing emissions does not happen at the expense of our competitiveness. Reducing emissions enhances our comparative advantage. As has been made evident today, we need many different steps, such as new vehicle technology. We need sustainable biofuels. We need more efficient logistics and transports.” Ms Winiger also referred to the positive experience in Sweden of the Fair Transport initiative by the Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies; an initiative developing sustainable and safe transport. Fair Transport is today something local authorities are demanding in their public procurement.

You can find the opening speech and the presentations here:

Opening speech by Mr Erik Østergaard

Presentation by Mr Peter Vis (DG MOVE)

Presentation by Mr Geir A Mo (Norwegian Road Transport Association)

Presentation by Mr Alarik Sandrup (Lantmannen)

Presentation by Mr Urban Wästljung (Scania)

Presentation by Mr Stef Cornelis (T&E)

For further information please contact Soren H Larsen, mob: +32 4 95 91 23 08