Why is it not sustainable to transport automotive components between continents in single-use packaging?

Why is it not sustainable to transport automotive components between continents in single-use packaging?

Changes in the global automotive industry are proving that CHEP's reusable packaging is more environmentally, operationally and economically sustainable than cartons.

The automotive industry is changing rapidly. The move towards electrification, driven by environmental standards and consumer awareness, means that many completely different components will be needed in the future. Coupled with the disruption caused by the pandemic, this change is forcing a huge transformation in supply chains around the world and increasingly highlights the complexities of intercontinental transportation.

Understandably, many industry players feel that single-use packaging is more useful for long-distance transport flows. Cartonboard appears to be much less environmentally problematic than a plastic box, as it can be recycled. It also appears relatively cheap to buy or replace, with no need to have a return flow of empties.

However, the problems with single-use cartons for long export or import journeys are considerable, not only in terms of reducing CO2 emissions and waste, but also because they are less cost-effective in operational terms.

There is a better use than single-use

Single-use packaging is not as sustainable as it seems. In fact, over the life cycle of the packaging, cartons involve more greenhouse gases than plastic packaging. [Footnote 1] There is also the difficulty of disposing of them correctly (much of it ends up in landfill, where it rots and produces even more greenhouse gas).

Equally important for complex export routes are hidden costs, CAPEX, additional storage or more manual handling with the risk of damaging the product.

For example, Tenneco, a global Tier 1 supplier, worked with CHEP to analyze the "total logistics cost of its packaging system" and found that the largest area of hidden costs came from single-use packaging. [Footnote 2]

Thanks to CHEP's much larger scale and global network, it can ensure that its customers will always have the supply of the packaging they need, unlike single-use packaging, regardless of changes in demand. In addition, its reusable containers are in continuous circulation around the world, eliminating charges for empty container return flows.

The robust reusable containers that are distributed eliminate the risks of complex intercontinental flows where damage and journey interruptions can mean production line downtime and consequently high costs. CHEP's supply chain analysis looks at customers' flows and helps them calculate the most efficient ways to reduce costs, increase transparency and sustainability, and make the export/import supply chain faster, simpler and safer.

One of the automotive industry's leading system developers and suppliers, with 40 manufacturing plants around the world, was concerned about the capital expenditure of its single-use packaging logistics, as well as the impact on sustainability.

So it worked with experts from CHEP Automotive to test CHEP's reusable packaging for a single route for a year, transporting catalysts from South Africa to Germany. The result was that, not only did it reduce physical waste by some 193 tons, but it met all of its reliability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness targets. It also found additional benefits in terms of reduced product damage, journey volumes, storage and shipping optimization. This solution can now be extended to its entire supply chain.

Sustainability is at the heart of the automotive industry's future, and CHEP's reusable distributed packaging is the most environmentally and economically sustainable way for the intercontinental transportation of the future.

About CHEP

For more than 30 years, CHEP has been a global leader in reusable automotive packaging solutions that help customers transport their products around the world. CHEP works with leading Tier 1 original equipment manufacturers on every continent and works with more than 5,000 customers worldwide from more than 60 automotive service centers.

 

 

 

Footnote 1: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/mar/31/plastics-cardboard

Footnote 2: https://packagingrevolution.net/automotive-packaging-role-continues-to-evolve-in-global-supply-chains/

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Why is it not sustainable to transport automotive components between continents in single-use packaging?