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UPS profits from sustainable logistics

LONDON: August 03, 2016. UPS, which reported a net profit of US$2.4 billion on revenue of US$29.05 billion for the first half of 2016, says it has achieved a goal of driving one billion miles on alternative fuels and advanced technology a year earlier than planned.

About 12 per cent of conventional diesel and gasoline used by UPS's ground fleet has now been replaced by renewables. The company is now driving more than one million miles each business day with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet according to Mike Whitlatch, UPS's vice president of global energy and procurement.

Company chairman and CEO David Abney added: "While attaining this goal is new, our commitment to seeking out alternative fuels actually dates back to the 1930s when UPS tested electric vehicles."

UPS HamburgUPS operates more than 7,200 vehicles in its 'Rolling Lab' including pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles in urban areas like London and Hamburg, or electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the U.S., to natural gas, renewable natural gas and propane power worldwide.

Since 2009, the company has invested more than US$750 million in alternative fuel, advanced technology vehicles, and fuelling stations. It says it has also learned a few lessons:

• Encourage innovation: What began as an approach has become an "ecosystem of innovation and progress" shaped by collaboration with suppliers, policy makers and other stakeholders.

• Adapt and tailor the solution: The best solution is not always the perfect solution. The fuels and vehicles that work in one region or one setting may not make sense in another.

• No substitute for real-world big data: UPS is able to see 30,000 delivery routes per minute through its On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) system, which uses fleet telematics and algorithms to reduce the number of miles driven. The company expects it to help avoid driving 100 million miles a year, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100,000 tonnes annually, and reduce fuel consumption by 10 million gallons a year.

• Unwavering leadership commitment: Long-term investments don't always pay off in the short term. "Economic and market forces are constantly changing, and the political environment that is necessary to foster investment and infrastructure development can be unpredictable."

• Partner, promote and report: Sharing progress with key stakeholders and partnering with alternative fuel and technology developers, non-profits, government agencies and industry trade groups is critical, UPS concludes.

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