Viet Nam tests green freight approaches for an economic and environment win-win

Viet Nam road freight stakeholders gathered in Ha Noi on 5 August to learn about the GMS Core Environment Program’s Green Freight Initiative and early results from its efforts to improve the environmental and economic performance of the industry.

Since February, technologies to improve fuel efficiency have been tested on trucks from five freight companies, focusing on high performance tires, better tire pressure monitoring, and retrofit equipment for improved aerodynamic performance. An eco-driver training curriculum is also being developed and tested.

Small-medium truck companies dominate Viet Nam’s road freight transport industry but are often inefficient, operating old truck fleets with weak logistics management and poorly trained drivers. Gas guzzling engines, low quality tires, and practices such as hauling empty loads mean fuel costs often cripple profit margins for smaller operators. Meanwhile, a lack of capital is proving a major barrier for many companies to upgrade their truck fleets and invest in other efficiency measures.

The environmental consequences are considerable too with road freight transport—dominated by small-medium companies—a major contributor to the country’s energy related greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Green Freight Initiative, transport agencies and trucking companies are working with international experts to improve the situation, targeting a 10% reduction in truck fuel use for small-medium freight companies. 

“Cutting down fuel use and emissions will help to build a green transport label for the truck companies and will effectively increase their competiveness,” said Nguyen Van Thanh, President of the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association.Following the initial testing phase, later in the year the eco-driver training curriculum and selected technologies will be piloted with around 20 more companies. Assessments to improve logistics management, particularly to address empty load haulage will be conducted, while a sustainable financing model will be set-up to encourage company uptake of the technologies and driver training.

The Green Freight Initiative is also operating in Lao PDR and Thailand, with all three countries linked by the East-West Economic Corridor, a key trade route in the GMS. The long-term aim of the initiative is to stimulate major investments in green freight along the corridor.“If we can bring green freight to scale, transport-related emissions along the corridor could be reduced by up to 20% while at the same time increasing profit-margins for small-medium trucking companies,” said Sumit Pokhrel from the GMS Environment Operations Center.

More than 60 representatives from truck companies, environment and transport ministries, and international organizations attended the event, which was hosted by the Directorate of Roads of Viet Nam.

See more content: Climate Change Viet Nam

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