08 Nov 2023, 13:52
Benjamin Wehrmann

Logistics associations say Germany must improve conditions to enable climate neutral road freight

Clean Energy Wire

The German road freight sector’s shift towards climate neutrality is being complicated by framework conditions, a group of industry associations and lorry producers have warned in a joint statement. “Zero-emissions vehicles are essential for climate-friendly road transport,” logistics associations BGL and DSLV, as well as carmakers MAN and Daimler, said. “An immediate turnaround in transport and climte policy” is needed to roll-out a whole fleet of zero-emissions freight vehicles on the road, the group said. Road freight today accounts for some 85 percent of all goods transports in the country. About six million vehicles are registered as freight vehicles, the majority of which run with internal combustion engines. The group said a shift towards zero-emissions vehicles is currently hindered by a lack of electricity and hydrogen for the freight vehicles, as well as the corresponding infrastructure to service them. Moreover, companies lacked a reliable support scheme for investing in new equipment. “Transport policy, levies and climate policy are not synchronous. This means the government puts the brakes on progress in improving road freight transport’s climate balance,” said DSLV head Frank Huster. Karin Radstrom, CEO at Daimler’s trucks branch, said the company could deliver battery-electric lorries, but these remained more expensive than combustion engine-driven alternatives. “This is why purchases must continue to be supported,” she argued. The group said Germany needs some 4,000 public fast-charging points by 2030 to provide the necessary infrastructure. It urged the government to use proceeds from lorry road tolls and carbon pricing, estimated to amount to about nine billion euros per year, to improve conditions for decarbonisation in the sector.

Most scenarios for a climate-friendly freight sector envisage an increase in rail transport, but the share of road freight transport has remained continuously high in recent years. While battery electric cars are supposed to replace the bulk of fossil fuel-based cars in the country, Germany's transport minister earlier this year insisted hydrogen and fuel cell solutions will be used as supplementary fuel that supports propulsion of battery-driven heavy freight vehicles on long journeys.

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