New FTA Ireland report on fleet decarbonisation

If Irish heavy duty vehicle fleet operators are to decarbonise their fleets successfully, it will be vital that government and industry coordinate their efforts to provide the vision and guidance that the process can be as effective as possible. So says a new report "Decarbonising the Road Freight Sector Ireland", launched today (9 July 2024) by industry body FTA Ireland, in partnership with Air Products, Gas Networks Ireland, Inver Energy and SSE. The comprehensive report analyses current European and national legislation governing commercial fleet operations and provides advice for fleet operators to ensure a smooth transition to a zero- emission future, while still delivering for the Irish economy.

And as FTA Ireland's Chief Executive Aidan Flynn explains, now is the ideal time for logistics businesses to start making informed decisions on decarbonisation, to keep goods moving while reducing emissions and improving air quality: "Decarbonising our sector, and the wider economy, will be key to Ireland's supply chain reputation and future competitiveness," he says. "The report we are launching today is packed with analysis and advice to provide operators with all the detail they require to make informed decisions about the route to Net Zero. The next few years will be critical to the success of Ireland's decarbonisation plan, and this report provides all the detail both operators and policy makers will require to make informed decisions and develop a coordinated approach that benefits businesses and consumers. "While our industry remains committed to decarbonising its operations and breaking the nation's reliance on fossil fuels, goods will still need to be delivered to homes, schools, hospitals and factories - after all, our sector underpins all Irish economic activity, both at home and abroad.

To achieve our aim of Net Zero by 2050, it is imperative that we work in tandem with other areas of industry and government to develop the necessary infrastructure and legislative support framework to deliver what is needed in a relatively short timeframe." As Mr Flynn continues, one of the biggest barriers to success is that, currently, few alternatives exist to enable logistics businesses to maintain Ireland's highly-interconnected supply chain in a Net Zero world "Net Zero is the ambition for our member businesses, as well as our partners in this report's production, but the solutions needed to achieve our end goal are far from simple.

A lack of available and affordable vehicles, a sparse network of refuelling operations and, indeed, lack of guidance as to the preferred fuel to be used are all hindering the logistics sector from taking the next step on the road to cleaner air and these challenges will need collaborative, coordinated solutions from all sectors of the economy and government if the supply chain is to continue to operate effectively while changes are introduced. "Commercial vehicle operators understand that the nation is changing the way it produces, consumes and designs its goods and services, but must not be vilified for continuing to deliver what Ireland needs while solutions are found. Today's report will create debates and provide challenges among all sectors of the economy which we must and can work together to address, to ensure the future success of Ireland's businesses.

"We are extremely grateful to our partners Air Products, Gas Networks Ireland, Inver Energy and SSE for their support and thank them for their commitment to the industry's efforts to decarbonise." Minister of State for Transport, Environment & Climate Action, James Lawless, commented: "The heavy goods road freight sector in Ireland today is almost exclusively fuelled by diesel. But this is going to change as we transition to a zero-emission future.

Government and industry will need to continue to work together to overcome the challenges faced in achieving the ambitious targets set.

I am impressed with the analysis presented in the FTA Ireland report on Decarbonising the Road Freight Sector and I agree that government investment to support the transition will be critical.

In order for Irish fleet operators to remain competitive into the future I would underline the importance of planning for the transition now to ensure that they are ready to make the most of the opportunities presented."