A report by the Pembina Institute calls for better freight management in Canadian urban centres to help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate costly inefficiencies.
The Next Frontier for Climate Action: Decarbonizing urban freight in Canada argues that with rising population and employment growth in Canadian cities as well as increased demand for fast delivery of online purchases, cities need better freight management.
In Canada, transportation contributes 24 per cent of Canada’s carbon emissions, and freight trucks contribute 36 per cent of those emissions. Businesses say they spend approximately 28 per cent of their total costs on conducting last-mile deliveries due to increasing traffic congestion, a lack of loading zones, and other inefficiencies.
The think tank’s report says improved freight management could cut traffic congestion, air, noise and carbon pollution and make cities work better for everyone.
Carolyn Kim, Ontario regional director with the Pembina Institute says “Businesses and Canadian municipalities are planning and exploring innovative ways to tackle growing populations and freight traffic.” She adds “By creating space to share best practices, cities benefit by moving forward together, and businesses benefit with a more consistent regulatory approach.”
The report highlights freight emissions reductions actions taken by businesses and urban areas, including Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
Pembina’s report found that some areas are spearheading action, and that by sharing experiences, there are many opportunities for cities to continue to move forward on cutting GHGs.
According to Josha MacNab, national strategy director with Pembina, all levels of government have a role to play “from cities driving innovative solutions, to consistent provincial regulatory frameworks, to funding from the federal government for low-carbon infrastructure and policies that make freight transportation cleaner.”
“Governments, businesses and consumers have a vested interest in ensuring cities can move goods quickly, efficiently and cleanly, to contribute to Canada’s economy,” says MacNab.
Pembina’s report says a shared and systematic approach to better freight management would benefit businesses at a local level and will be important to those that operate in multiple provinces or at a national scale. Such solutions require national applications to achieve maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Along with the appeal for improved freight management, the report also outlines the current challenges, and possible solutions of alternative delivery models, modes, and technologies, including delivery microhubs, cargo cycles, electric vehicles, and off-peak deliveries.
According to the report, Metro Vancouver has the highest rate of carbon emissions from transportation in major Canadian cities at 45 per cent, while in Edmonton, carbon emissions from transportation were 31 per cent.