Aviation article(s)
September 15, 2019
green airplane iStock-690054084
Industry players are pursuing green strategies to promote an efficient distribution system while becoming more environmentally friendly.

Industry players in the logistics sector are pursuing green strategies in all areas of operations to promote efficient transport and distribution system while becoming more environmentally friendly.


The world’s largest single-multi story air cargo terminal in the world, HACTL (Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited), for example, is moving to position itself as the “most environmentally-friendly terminal operation in the world” by cutting carbon performance through energy- and waste management.


HACTL chief executive Wilson Kwong told Asia Cargo News that specific efforts include utilization of renewable energy lighting sources, minimizing plastic consumption, optimizing its refrigeration facilities and reusing or recycling of waste materials – cargo protection materials are made from recycled plastics collected in its terminals. The terminal has also installed 516 solar roof panels to provide a renewable energy source.


Fully carbon neutral terminal

“Using 2015 as a base, we aim to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by 2020, by 70% by 2030. By 2030, we aim to reduce emissions by 70% compared to 2005 (Paris-based target). And by 2100, we want HACTL to be totally carbon neutral,” Kwong said, adding that the terminal operator, which is also Hong Kong’s largest independent air cargo terminal, also works to educate its staff on matters relating to minimizing environmental impact on its operations.


“HACTL has had a long-standing commitment to minimizing the environmental impacts of our operations in a programme which we call Green Terminal. HACTL continues to explore and implement eco-friendly initiatives,” he added.


HACTL, which runs the SuperTerminal 1 (ST1), with more than 390,000 sq metres of gross floor area and handling capacity of 3.5 million tonnes, wants to make ST1 a model “Green Terminal.” Currently, it is also working on certification to the Platinum level of BEAM Plus Interior, a globally-recognized set of environmental design and construction standards for commercial buildings.


“Being more eco-friendly also makes good business sense. We are reducing our operational costs by reducing energy use and waste generation,” Kwong said.


“Our aim is to be the most environmentally-friendly terminal operation in the world, and to support the sustainability initiatives of the United Nations’ Paris Agreement, and those of the Hong Kong government,” he added.


World’s “greenest airport”

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is also actively seeking and implementing best practices in environmental management.


The world's busiest cargo airport said it is adopting an “airport-wide” approach to promoting sustainability, which includes performance and benchmarking against environmentally leading airports worldwide, developing, implementing and updating a 5-year environmental plan to reduce HKIA’s environmental footprint; and integrating environmental plans into its corporate plans.


“One of the goals related to the push to green logistics is that HKIA and its airport community pledges to reduce airport-wide carbon intensity,” HKIA said in a statement to Asia Cargo News.


The statement said that since 2008, its Carbon Reduction Programme has provided a platform for the airport community to measure, reduce and report carbon emissions. It said that despite a strong increase in passenger and cargo throughput between 2008 and 2015, for example, HKIA achieved a 25.6% reduction in carbon intensity in 2015 compared to the 2008 baseline.


“Furthermore, the airport community pledges to reduce airport-wide carbon intensity by 10% from 2015 levels by 2020. All the cargo terminal operators at HKIA have participated in the Programme,” the statement said.


In March 2018, HKIA reached a significant milestone by certifying the Environmental Management System (EMS) against the ISO 14001 standard, an internationally-recognized voluntary standard that outlines the requirements for establishing an effective EMS, which leading HKIA one step closer to meeting the “greenest airport” pledge.


To ensure green logistics in the cargo and logistics operations at HKIA, the airport authority also mandates all cargo terminal operators and logistics facilities operators to implement a rolling three-year environmental plan in relation to all their activities and operation, which shall comply with the requirements imposed by the authority. 


“Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is committed to becoming one of the world’s greenest airports,” it added.


Sustainability in all levels of operations

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines Cargo said its “green” efforts include programs to address carbon emissions, waste management, noise pollution and the consumption of energy and resources.


“Singapore Airlines has a strong history of being committed to our long-term responsibility to protect the environment while providing air transportation services of the highest quality. We have a number of programmes in place to implement sustainable practices at all levels, from energy and resource management in our offices to operational initiatives to reduce carbon emissions through fuel productivity and savings,” Abraham Chua, Singapore Airlines Cargo, marketing and airline partnerships, told Asia Cargo News.


Part of the Singapore-based carrier’s Sustainability Report (2018/2019) noted that the airlines “green programmes” include investment in a modern fleet, which reduces noise by 50% compared to older aircraft, improvement of fuel efficiency by optimizing flight routings and engaging in effective aircraft weight management, and supporting causes to accelerate the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions.


Singapore signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aims to reduce emissions intensity by 36% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. Singapore Airlines is an active member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG).


SIA Group said it is committed to achieving a 15% reduction in its office electricity consumption by FY 2020/21 from base year FY 2010/11 as it also targets to achieve a 30% waste reduction in FY 2020/21 from base year FY2010/11, noting that it disposed of 2,587 tonnes of waste accumulated from its office buildings in FY 2018/19.


Investing in “green” supply chain technology

Kuwait-based global logistics provider Agility, for its part, recently announced that it has invested US$18 million in green supply chain technologies through its corporate venture arm Agility Ventures, as it pursues its previous commitment to adopt science-based targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and achieved third-party certification for its shipment emissions reporting.


“Agility is pursuing an ambitious environmental strategy. By 2025, it plans to cut its emissions by 25% from 2016 levels,” the logistics company said in a statement.


To reach that goal, the company noted that it is implementing renewable energy pilots in its large facilities across the world and building to green standards as it adds over 300,000square metres of facilities to its portfolio of warehousing and light industrial facilities across the Middle East and Africa as it incorporates sustainability into its business dealings and offering emissions reports at certified to ISO14064 standards.


To drive green transformation across the industry, Agility added that it has made green technologies one of its four core investment areas.


“Green technology is a major focus of our investment strategy, and we’re always on the lookout for dynamic new businesses that can revolutionize the supply chain to help protect the planet. We are looking at innovative solutions that drive business value by reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and reducing energy consumption at the same time,” said Agility chair Henadi Al-Saleh in a statement.


By Charlee Delavin

Asia Cargo News | Hong Kong

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