Economy & Politics

The logistics sector awaits the gigaliners

These heavy goods vehicles with a high loading capacity remain prohibited in the Grand Duchy, unlike other European neighbors. However, these “road giants” would be welcome to allow the sector to reduce its CO2 emissions.

These heavy goods vehicles with a high loading capacity remain prohibited in the Grand Duchy, unlike other European neighbors. However, these “road giants” would be welcome to allow the sector to reduce its CO2 emissions.

(pj with Marco MENG) The covid crisis has demonstrated, if need be, the importance of transport and logistics companies. They were the vital link at a time when everything was closing. However, depending on their sector of activity, these companies had a more or less good year in 2020. Malik Zeniti, director of the Cluster for Logistics Luxembourg (C4L), knows perfectly well what is going on among the hundred or so members of the grouping.

Besichtigung der Qingbaijiang Railway Freight Station, Chengdu, Güterbahnhof Verbindung Bettembourg-Chengdu, China.

It was to be one of the most promising routes, but after a test at the end of 2019 no rail freight convoy came from the province of Sichuan to Luxembourg. In the meantime, the CFL are banking on their relations with Northern Europe.

Thus, carriers accustomed to transporting loads of refrigerated food and drinks for the hotel and catering industry continue to look gloomy. The same dark face for companies linked to automobile production or the transport of raw materials for the building industry, which are beginning to fail. On the other hand, Cargolux is smiling as big as its turnover has jumped. On the freight side, moreover, Malik Zeniti and the profession are expecting more positive months, both for rail and air. To see if the road will follow.

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“But after the troubles related to the covid, CO2 emissions are once again a problem for our activity”, underlines the head of the cluster. By 2030, the sector must reduce its carbon emissions by 48% and the mission is far from won. Part of the solution, for C4L, could lie in the authorization given by Luxembourg to see longer trucks circulate on its network. Heavy goods vehicles with 25 meters of loading instead of the usual 18.7 m. By adopting these “Eurocombis”, the volumes of a transport would gain 40m3 suddenly and carbon dioxide emissions could drop by 30%, estimates the cluster.

In the Grand Duchy, we are still surprised because these extra long vehicles (called “mega” or “gigaliners”) already circulate on fixed routes in Europe. But not in Luxembourg. “We don’t understand that in neighboring countries like Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands EcoCombis are allowed. This saves driver fees, travel costs and CO2 emissions. ”

Such trucks could, for example, be perfectly operational between the Goodyear plant in Colmar-Berg and the multimodal hub in Bettembourg. A solution more easily adopted by the profession than electric vehicles (such as those recently acquired by the company Biogros) or hydrogen for which there is no station.

In recent years, transport and logistics companies have mainly invested in the expansion of their infrastructure in Luxembourg. In seven years, 280,000 m2 of warehouses have been built in the country or are being completed. Or nearly 285 million euros of investments. Now, we must therefore focus on the environmental issue.

In total, Luxembourg has around 7,000 truck drivers.

In the absence of an agreement with neighboring countries, several hundred truck drivers and bus drivers have not benefited from all social benefits for nearly twelve months. For the CLC, as for the unions, there is an urgent need to act.

The Cluster for Logistics readily pleads for the State to accelerate the development of hydrogen as a fuel. Like the efforts already made by public policies in favor of solar energy. Knowing that on the side of the main players, everyone is ready to follow the green line. But with the financial support that will help the transition.

Example to follow

Philippe Scholten, logistics development advisor for C4L, testifies to this goodwill. Recalling that fifteen member brands of the cluster have committed to the Lean & Green approach. Like Luxair, “these companies have developed strategies to save 20% of CO2 emissions in five years”.

Biogros, the aforementioned organic food wholesaler, will even be the first Luxembourg company to obtain the second star of the program. This distinction means that it reduces its CO2 emissions from transport and logistics activities by more than 30%. An example to follow for companies like GN Transport, Kronospan, Luxport Group, Transalliance or Webtaxi.

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