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DHL signs 3-year deal for 33 million liters of sustainable aviation fuel

SAF provides measurable path to emissions reduction in aviation

(Photo: Deutsche Post DHL Group)

DHL Global Forwarding, an air and ocean freight division of Deutsche Post DHL Group, on Tuesday signed a three-year agreement with Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP) for the purchase of 33 million liters of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

DHL called the deal one of the “most significant” purchases of SAF in freight forwarding. This purchase of SAF from AFKLMP is part of DHL’s sustainability goals, which aim to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050 by investing $8.25 billion in green technologies by 2030.

Blending this amount of SAF with conventional aviation fuel over the three-year period is predicted to save more than 80,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions on AFKLMP flights. The higher the proportion of SAF, the greater the reductions in carbon emissions. DHL will allocate this environmental benefit for its customers.

“We have set ourselves ambitious goals on our journey towards zero emissions. Sustainable fuels are a fundamental part of our efforts. That is why we have committed to covering at least 30% of airfreight and ocean freight fuel requirements with sustainable fuels by 2030,” Tim Scharwath, CEO at DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, said in a release.

Air France KLM Martinair is one of DHL’s green carrier certification members. It has been one of the top three GoGreen carriers for years, according to the release.

Read: DHL launches green carrier certification

(Graphic: Deutsche Post DHL Group)

Scope 3 emissions impacts

Customers will be able to choose a sustainable option. DHL said it is “nearly impossible” to physically track SAF from production to aircraft, so the company is using a book-and-claim system. The system will digitally track and transfer emissions reductions from using SAF across supply chains. 

“Our partnership with AFKLMP will help us achieve that goal. At the same time, it serves as another example of the success of our ‘book-and-claim’ system, which ensures that reductions in scope 3 emissions are attributed to our customers. We must all work together to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, and ultimately zero-carbon, emissions transport sector,” Scharwath said. 

This allows companies in all locations and of different sizes to have the opportunity to purchase SAF and claim the environmental benefits. The savings in scope 3 emissions will be tracked and credited to their accounts.

Tyler Cole, director of carbon intelligence at FreightWaves, said 33 million liters of SAF is a “commendable effort,” but it’s a small amount compared to total volumes of jet fuel. He said the most exciting part of this partnership is that it supports a book-and-claim system that reports environmental attributes. This system could unlock a huge market for reducing scope 3 emissions.

Adriaan den Heijer, executive vice president at AFKLM Cargo and managing director at Martinair, said in the release, “The AFKLM Martinair Cargo teams are strongly committed and feel responsible for creating a sustainable future for our industry. This deal is a great opportunity to accelerate our joint sustainability efforts. SAF has a lot of potential to reduce CO2 emissions, and we are delighted to collaborate with our strong, long-term partner DHL Global Forwarding on this journey to greener logistics and transportation in the coming years.” 

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.