Engineers at Virginia Tech University and the University of Arkansas conducted a study which shows that if businesses are linked together through a shared network, or “physical internet,” they will greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced during transportation of their products.
According to the authors from the CELDi (Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution) Physical Internet Project, such network has the potential to lower carbon dioxide emissions by up to 200 trillion grams, and reduce turnover rate of long-haul truck drivers by up to 75%.
The “physical internet” would work by sending the freight with a shared distribution system. The idea is that suppliers share physical space and costs by filling tractor trailers to their full capacity and by housing the products closer to the delivery end-point.
A so-called “relay system” is also proposed. This could transfer loads to trailers and assist moving them efficiently along the route.
The Project suggests that businesses use standard containers, which will save as much as 20% additional space. One of the researchers working on this, Professor Russ Meller from the UA Department of Industrial Engineering, is certain that the needed technology is already available, producers and consumers will both benefit from it, and the only missing piece is to get the industry partners on board.