Logistics UK                                                                                                                                                          ZAS0064

Written evidence from Logistics UK


About Logistics UK


Logistics UK is one of Britain’s largest business groups and the only one providing a voice for the entirety of the UK’s logistics sector. Our role, on behalf of over 18,000 members, is to enhance the safety, efficiency and sustainability of freight movement throughout the supply chain, across all transport modes. Logistics UK members operate over 200,000 goods vehicles - almost half the UK fleet - and some one million liveried vans. In addition, they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight.



Response to inquiry


Q1. What contribution can operational efficiencies make to reduce emissions from aircraft / shipping vessels and over what timescale could these have an effect on emissions?


Airlines are continuously upgrading their fleets. New planes are much more fuel-efficient and have quieter engines. The use of biofuels or jet fuel created from energy from waste is on the increase and ground operations are moving quickly towards becoming carbon neutral. The industry is constantly addressing environmental concerns and using innovative solutions to decrease waiting times for planes through digital platforms, making operations more efficient. That said, more support for research and development in air cargo is vital. Air emissions at a global level are governed through the UN agency for aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which has developed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to achieve its aim of carbon neutral growth.

The government is currently consulting on its long-term policy proposals for night flights in the UK. This issue cannot be separated from a strategy from emissions; as we note in our response to the night flights consultation, there are emissions-reduction gains at busy airports by continuing to allow early morning arrivals and late-night departures. Night flights policy must, of course, respect the needs of local communities affected by noise and all reasonable measures to minimise the impacts should be taken.  


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) (the UN agency for maritime) has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping, under IMO’s pollution prevention treaty (MARPOL); these are the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) which is mandatory for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP). With excellent maritime facilities nationwide, ensuring ports and wharves have good road and rail connections can support environmental goals and regional development. With more effective Government support to promote modal shift, and policy frameworks that protect and expand our inland waterway freight infrastructure, these water-based modes could grow even further and reduce pressure on our congested roads, working towards decarbonising the logistics sector.


Q2. How close are zero carbon fuels to commercialisation for aviation / shipping? How effective will the Jet Zero Council be in catalysing zero emissions technologies? What role should transitional fuels such as alternative hydrocarbon fuels play?


We support the government’s Net Zero regulations, and in principle support the goal for UK domestic aviation to be net zero. However, 2040 may be over-ambitious given the unique technical challenges to decarbonising aviation such as the early stage of zero-emissions technology and low market penetration of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with the future scale deployment of sustainable aviation fuels currently unclear. We encourage the government only to confirm the net-zero target date once there is industry confidence that it is deliverable.  

We support the goal of agreeing and setting robust sustainability standards for SAF; and we encourage government to look across the transport and energy sectors to see if any of the many existing standards could be adapted to this use. We do however believe that the Government must work with more urgency to determine two key objectives to support the development of SAFs in the UK – a mandate and a price stability mechanism. Both are vital to ensuring there price gap between kerosene is reduced, and to stimulate the market and investors to start developing SAFs on a wider commercial basis. To help deliver a SAF strategy that works for the whole sector, the Jet Zero Council should be expanded to include Air Cargo sector stakeholders, who are currently not represented.  

The requirement for zero emission airport operations, if adopted, should be regularly reviewed through the five-year process and amended if necessary. We would caution government that proposed target years for the phase out of petrol and diesel commercial vehicles are 2035 and 2040 for lighter and heavier HGVs respectively; it may therefore be difficult for airports to source zero emission airside vehicles to meet a net zero emissions target, depending on the type of vehicles used in their operations. Details should be discussed with airport operators to fully understand the scale of the challenge prior to policy decisions being taken.  


Q6. What further action is needed by the International Civil Aviation Organization and International Maritime Organization to drive emissions reductions? What can the UK Government do to drive international action on emissions?

The cargo sector is a highly significant consumer of aviation services, and logistics professionals are under pressure from customers to provide environmental impact data. Government has a role to play in developing good practice guidance on environmental reporting in the aviation sector and we call on government to work and consult with ourselves and other air cargo representatives.  This example is further evidence of the need to expand the Jet Zero Council to include representation from the air cargo sector.  



Contact for further information  

Alex Veitch 

Deputy Director– Public Policy  

Logistics UK 


October 2021