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Norfolk Southern revamps online carbon calculator

2nd iteration aimed at bolstering customers’ sustainability initiatives

Norfolk Southern has developed a second iteration of its online carbon calculator, which the railroad says will help customers meet their sustainability goals. 

Customers can use the calculator to measure their shipments’ carbon emissions. The calculator uses an algorithm that produces data and variables based on actual metrics. The data sample size used for the online calculator was 7 million shipments, and the data accounts for the entire cycle of fuel usage, including direct fuel consumption from locomotives, yard and local operations, equipment repositioning, and fuel expended while handling containers for intermodal operations, NS (NYSE: NSC) said.

By entering the type of commodity to be transported, shipment weight and frequency, and the origin and destination, users can gather data on estimated and avoided emissions, carbon dollars saved, highway miles avoided, trucks and cars taken off the road, and other carbon equivalents, NS said

NS unveiled its first-generation carbon calculator in 2008. The updated  version comes as companies are seeking ways to reduce carbon emissions throughout their operations, including during shipments. Supply chain emissions are 11.4 times higher than operational emissions, NS quoted global not-for-profit charity CDP as saying.

“Technology is the fuel accelerating Norfolk Southern’s digital transformation,” said NS Chief Sustainability Officer Josh Raglin. “More than 25% of our customers have set public targets for emission reductions, and our new calculator provides a level of assurance that customers need to both measure and manage supply chain emissions. This tool provides our current and future customers with the data to understand the sustainable advantages of shipping via rail.”

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.