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Automotive manufacturers remain laser-focused on electrification

Amid semiconductor shortages and tight capacity, march toward carbon neutrality strengthens

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Pressure continues to build on automotive manufacturers to pursue vehicle electrification, which in turn increases the need for industrywide collaboration. For insight on that dynamic, Alan Votaw, AIT’s director of sales for industrial/automotive, attended the Automotive Logistics and Supply Chain Conference in Detroit

AIT is a global freight forwarder with more than 85 locations worldwide providing sea, air and ground solutions for customers in nearly every industry. In a conversation with FreightWaves’ Andrew Cox, Votaw explained that while the semiconductor shortage persists and capacity for ocean and air transportation remains tight, auto manufacturers are keeping their laser focus on electrification and a goal of zero emissions. 

“The clear message from the industry is that simple carbon offsets are not sufficient, and all constituents have to aim for carbon neutrality in three key areas: the automobile itself, from the suppliers and within manufacturing operations,” said Votaw. “The common agreement is that climate change is real and the need to act is now.”

Organizations such as the Suppliers Partnership for the Environment are working hard to increase collaboration, set common standards and drive data integration ⁠— a practice that accelerated in response to the pandemic. More specifically, these organizations will place manufacturers’ use of water, materials and packaging under close review, while working to define processes around emissions reporting.

“There are a number of growing collaborations between freight forwarding and carriers, as well as the last-mile and long-haul services ⁠— a collective push to get away from carbon combustion and electrifying the trucking of materials across the country,” Votaw said.

Corrie White

Corrie is fascinated how the supply chain is simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. She covers freight technology, cross-border freight and the effects of consumer behavior on the freight industry. Alongside writing about transportation, her poetry has been published widely in literary magazines. She holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro.