Working to Achieve Sustainable Freight Systems

From the Archive—In case you missed's a look back at the December 2016 issue of EM, which looked at emissions, regulations, technology, and environmental management approaches to manage the environmental concerns of trucks, ships, trains, planes, and their supporting infrastructure.
by James J. Winebrake

The global economy continues to expand, and with it, the worldwide movement of goods has accelerated. Ships, trains, planes, and trucks crisscross our planet in complex supply chains and logistics systems at a scale that is truly phenomenal.

Global trade has helped raise standards of living throughout the world, but along with these benefits come significant environmental costs. Our modes of freight transportation are powered almost entirely by fossil fuels; and the burning of fossil fuels is a leading contributor to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants, and hazardous air toxics.

Additionally, the physical infrastructure built to facilitate goods movement and modal transfers—for example, ports and their vast array of cargo-handling equipment—represents major stationary and area sources of air and water pollution.

Nonetheless, solutions exist, and this issue of EM is directed at exploring the ways and means for achieving more sustainable freight systems.

Read the full December 2016 issue of EM.