Sri Lanka forum hears how to cut fuel costs, emissions
COLOMBO, Nov 18, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Better management of truck fleets helps reduce ’empty trips’ and fuel costs and emissions, experts told an international forum on air quality and sustainable transport that began in Colombo Tuesday.
Convincing small and medium enterprises, who dominate freight transport in Asian countries like Sri Lanka, of the importance of adopting sustainable transport strategies is key to reducing emissions and improving air quality in cities, they said.
"Management of carriers is one of the most efficient ways (to achieve ‘green freight’)," said Roland Haas of the GIZ, a German outfit working on sustainable transport and clean for Asian cities.
"Saving on empty trips can reduce fuel and emissions."
Multinationals like Walmart, UPS and Coca Cola, sourcing product from Asia, are already looking for ways to make their supply chains go ‘green’, said Jim Blubaugh, Director of International Programs, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"Multinationals are realising environmental benefits with improvements to the bottom line," he told the forum. "They can save fuel and save money."
The EPA is ready to share the experience of its green freight programme with countries interested in establishing it with technical support and tips on how to quantify benefits and how to recruit the private sector "to get them to buy into what you’re selling," he said.
The United Nations Centre for Regional Development is a key organiser of the Integrated Conference of Better Air Quality 2014 and Intergovernmental 8th Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum in Asia whose main sessions start Wednesday.
Better air quality is seen as a major challenge for the Asian region with air pollution confirmed as the world’s largest single environmental health risk—causing premature deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
Asia’s traffic and environmental problems such as air pollution and traffic congestion are caused by significant motorization resulting from rapid economic growth and urbanization.
The UN-led initiative aims to work towards ways to realize environmentally sustainable transport.