A recent webinar, hosted by DMG Events the organisers of Transport Evolution Africa, Africa’s largest expo and forum for the transport and logistics sector, convened industry experts and stakeholders to discuss the urgent need for decarbonising strategies in the transport and logistics sector across Africa. The webinar shed light on the existing challenges and potential solutions to mitigate carbon emissions in the industry.
One of the key takeaways from the webinar was the apparent disconnect between transporters and transport buyers. The industry seemed more focused on reporting rather than taking concrete actions to reduce emissions, creating a mismatch in signals between transporters and users. Another challenge is the slow pace of policy reforms and changes in regulations, to help bolster the adoption of decarbonization strategies.
Ziad Hamoui, president of the Borderless Alliance organization based out of Ghana, raised concerns about the lack of alignment on national, regional, and continental standards for decarbonization. He emphasized the need for collaboration between countries to align their standards and policies, particularly in two critical areas: infrastructure development and vehicle standards. Ziad highlighted the importance of considering costs and available finance to facilitate a smooth transition towards greener transport options.
Abiola Osho, Vice president of investments at African Finance Corporation, addressed the perspective of high-emitting industries and countries on decarbonization strategies. He highlighted significant challenges related to productivity and infrastructure, stressing the need for realistic targets that align with available financing. Abiola called for holistic interventions driven by leadership, including clear policy and regulations, effective execution, and transparent communication. He emphasized that meeting these targets would require an estimated $2.5 trillion, which might take up to 200 years to realize.
Eric Parry, Senior Manager Sustainable Solutions at Volvo, who is also a member of the new energy committee for NAAMSA (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa), acknowledged the positive initiatives already in place, such as the PCC (Presidential Climate Commission) as well as the Green Transport Strategy. However, he noted the lack of concrete policies enabling the industry to transition effectively. Eric echoed the sentiment of a signaling mismatch between buyers’ green aspirations and transporters’ fleet operations, emphasizing the necessity for further measures to facilitate the adoption of greener options.
Thabo Mashiloane, CEO/Chairman at TRAX 2 Group SA, echoed the sentiments of the other speakers about the importance of revising policies and regulations to support decarbonization efforts in the industry. Participants agreed that significant changes are needed to incentivize and accelerate the transition.
During discussions on encouraging adoption of decarbonization, Abdool Kamdar, Manager Decarbonization and Net Zero at KDG logistics, raised concerns about the perceived higher costs associated with greener alternatives. However, he pointed out that significant progress could be achieved by decarbonizing the existing fleet. With the implementation of various technologies, it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 20% within 3-6 months, yielding positive cash flow and improving profits by 20-30%. Abdool stressed the importance of transporters carefully evaluating and selecting the most suitable technology for their specific context, while keeping transport costs low to foster economic growth. Notably, South Africa is deploying electric vehicle (EV) trucks at a scale comparable to many developed countries.
Government support was identified as crucial in driving the transition towards decarbonization. The webinar participants urged policymakers to reduce duties and introduce incentives to promote greater adoption of EVs. They also emphasized the need for localizing the production chain of renewable energy and battery technologies.
The webinar concluded with a call for continued collaboration, dialogue, and concerted efforts from stakeholders across the transport and logistics sector in Africa to accelerate the development and implementation of effective decarbonising strategies.
Decarbonization strategies and sustainability/ESG will be one of the key topics at this year’s Transport Evolution Africa conference, which is scheduled take place from the 20-22 September at the Durban ICC, alongside an exhibition of over 200 suppliers and services providers to the transport infrastructure and logistics sector.
For more information, you can visit the event website at www.transportevolution.com