Sponsored InsightsSustainability

Convoy partnership adds to CHEP’s long story of sustainability

Behind empty miles are cost savings, emissions reductions

The sustainability culture at CHEP, a global leader in pallet and container pooling services, was upheld as an aspirational standard for the industry during this week’s episode of Net Zero Carbon. But this culture is baked into CHEP’s history. 

“CHEP was founded when the allies left all these pallets for moving equipment during World War II in Australia,” said Tyler Cole, FreightWaves’ director of carbon intelligence. “It started as a way to get rid of waste with all the excess pallets laying around, and through a big global growth expansion and standardization of pallet size and forklift offloading, they’ve been able to scale and get rid of a lot of that waste.”

As the current climate crisis spurs supply chain constituents to join the movement, CHEP has continued its efforts by partnering with Convoy to reduce empty miles. Like many shippers, CHEP was paying for those empty backhauls, but during an initial trial of Convoy’s technology, it was able to reduce empty miles by 50%. Behind that optimization lies cost savings, a more efficient supply chain and emissions reductions. 

“They’ve been doing this since the ’40s in some form or fashion,” said Cole. “Now it’s just formalized towards a lot of the net-zero targets that you see everybody pledging. Where I think we are in a different age now than when they started is that we have technology, especially in the transportation space, whether it’s a digital broker like Convoy or other TMS systems that we can interchange data and make the entire supply chain more visible.”

For shippers, carriers and intermediaries, data integration is the first important step necessary to measure a carbon footprint, and luckily, advanced data integrations are available today to enable cross-platform data exchanges. 

“You’re seeing a lot more nimbleness and change happen as we digitize supply chains, but it happens at younger organizations or organizations that have that culture of agility built in,” Cole said. “The most important thing they should be doing right now as a way to differentiate is to understand what your carbon footprint is at a product level. Freight is a huge piece of that. It’s also getting ahead of potential regulatory or customer requirements, so why not start now?”

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.