A shift to coastal shipping and rail could cut NZ’s freight transport emissions – why aren’t we doing it?

Mon, 15 May 2023 06:14:51 +1000

Andrew Pam <xanni [at] glasswings.com.au>

Andrew Pam

"According to a recent study, coastal shipping produces a fifth of the carbon
emissions (well-to-wheel) of road freight. Rail also performed well, with about
a quarter of trucking emissions.

Despite this, trucking accounts for nearly 80% of New Zealand’s heavy goods
transport, and a 94.5% share of the total emissions from heavy freight

The dominance of trucking follows the expansion of the road network, which
enables trucks to move relatively fast, travel to hard-to-reach locations and
adjust routes to meet the flexibility required for just-in-time deliveries.

But despite its advantages, trucking is associated with external costs,
including higher carbon emissions than other modes of transportation.

This study represents the most comprehensive comparison of freight emissions
for different carriers to date for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Before we evaluate decarbonisation pathways, we need to have a solid
understanding of the freight system. To this end, we have created a transport
dashboard to visualise the carbon footprint of freight movements within New

With decarbonisation commitments firmly locked into legislation, we have hard
deadlines to cut emissions. Failure to do so will represent a risk to New
Zealand’s economy and likely require taxpayer money to buy expensive
international carbon offsets."

       *** Xanni ***
mailto:xanni@xanadu.net               Andrew Pam
http://xanadu.com.au/                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu
https://glasswings.com.au/            Partner, Glass Wings
https://sericyb.com.au/               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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