Options for Reducing Logistics-Related Emissions from Global Value Chains

21 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2014

Date Written: April 2014


The additional freight movement generated by the growth of world trade carries a significant environmental penalty. This paper examines the nature and scale of this penalty and assesses the opportunities for reducing it. It focuses on the various ways of cutting carbon emissions from international freight movement by sea and air. Assuming that the total value of trade continues to expand, efforts could be made to reduce the ratios of trade value to freight tonne-kms and tonne-kms to emissions. There is currently greater potential to depress the second of these ratios by deploying new transport technologies and operating practices. Many of the ‘decarbonisation’ measures will cut costs as well as carbon and be self-financing in the short- to medium-term. Internalisation of the environmental costs of international freight transport and/or the application of emissions trading would reinforce the adoption of these measures though the prospects of this happening in the foreseeable future seem limited.

Keywords: global value chains, logistics, shipping, air cargo, carbon emissions, decarbonisation

Suggested Citation

McKinnon, Alan C., Options for Reducing Logistics-Related Emissions from Global Value Chains (April 2014). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2014/31, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2422406 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2422406

Alan C. McKinnon (Contact Author)

Kühne Logistics University ( email )

Großer Grasbrook 17
Hamburg, 20457

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