In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of retail distribution systems, a group of European retailers has urged policymakers to promote interoperability between different modes of transport, particularly road and rail.
The Retail Forum, an initiative launched last year as part of the European Commission's sustainable consumption and production drive, says policymakers should consider fiscal incentives for investment in distribution terminals and other infrastructure for combined transport.
The group also recommends that retailers use computerized route planning and other technical solutions to improve the efficiency of distribution systems, as well as optimizing packaging solutions and improving space filling on freight transport.
In the future, retailers must take a more holistic approach to supply chain management by combining cost efficiency and sustainability concerns, according to the group. Key barriers to greener distribution include road congestion and the current complexity of cross-border rail operations.
Sources: European Commission, Retail Forum, ENDs