With e-commerce driving an increase in growth, Finnish postal company Posti has increased its efforts to develop emission-free logistics, notably through the use of Neste renewable diesel in its delivery vehicles. The company feels that the use of renewable fuels is the fastest way to reduce the greenhouse emissions generated by e-commerce logistics.
Posti says that the volume of parcels delivered has increased sharply in the last few years. Previously, similar delivery volumes were reached only during the busiest periods of the year, such as Black Friday and Christmas. Posti’s own fleet covers roughly 40% of the parcel deliveries in Finland.
“The growth of e-commerce was already fast, but it really exploded this spring,” said Arttu Hollmérus, senior vice president of the Parcel and eCommerce business group at Posti. “Both Posti and the online retailers have their roles to play in building the growth on a sustainable foundation, but consumers can also contribute by their sustainable purchase decisions.”
An earlier survey by Posti stated that the emission differences between online stores and brick-and-mortar stores are mainly created in the last kilometer, i.e. on the way from the distribution center to the consumer. By calculation, delivering one parcel from a distribution center to a pickup point generates on average 600g of greenhouse gas emissions, which corresponds to approximately 5km (3 miles) driven in a normal passenger car.
By using Neste MY Renewable Diesel, Posti feels it can influence this critical stage and reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 3,800,000kg annually. This is the equivalent of removing almost 1,300 cars from traffic. The effects will be particularly evident in the areas of Finland’s big cities, where most of the deliveries occur. The company aims to achieve zero emissions in its own operations by 2030.
Greater speed through automation
The company will also resume a planned upgrade to its automated sorting facilities in Helsinki, Oulu, Tampere and Kuopio, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new installations will begin in Helsinki, and all the machines will be in place by the first quarter of 2021 at the very latest.
Three new MSM sorting machines that are suited for diverse letter and publication sorting as well as sorting other addressed items are destined for Helsinki (two machines) and Oulu. The facilities in Tampere and Oulu will then receive similar updated equipment.
Down the line, printed mail will also be mechanically sorted in Tampere and Kuopio, in addition to Helsinki and Oulu. Sami Reponen, production director of Postal Services at Posti, said, “Increased automation means increased speed, additional services and the possibility to track mailing batches. At the same time, our personnel will have at their disposal more modern sorting machines that will sort items quickly into the delivery order, reducing the amount of manual sorting work in delivery. We will carefully discuss the effect of the new machines during the negotiations.”