Challenges of fuel consumption in transportation sector

How to save fuel consumption and GHG emissions in the logistics sector during diesel prices increase?
Hanan Friedman

Hanan Friedman

The international trade of goods and services is a fundamental component of the global economy. According to the global business data platform “Statista”, over 80% of the world’s commodities are transported by sea passing through many ports on the way. Numerous industries are dependent on cargo shipping, especially those that rely on a supply of raw materials.

Hazardous substances such as oil, gas, and products of the chemical industry are often transported great distances by sea, providing the cheapest means for shipping. Actually, the majority of all cargo is conveyed by sea, and many companies choose this mode of transport in order to increase safety as well as to save costs. In 2020, less than 1% of global cargo theft came from shipping vessels.

Efficient port administration requires rapid and large-scale modernization. Operations are significantly slowed down by ship and truck congestion, due to various causes. A port is a facility comprising areas where ships load and discharge cargo (and passengers). The shipping system is complex, while ports serve as hubs for the distribution of freight by all modes of transportation.

In rare case, such as moving raw materials to a production facility, delivery of goods can be carried out from one port to another, without additional transport modes.

It is clear that ports will eventually be automated. However, it should be noted that processes need to be simplified before successful optimization can occur. Major barriers to automation include professional capabilities and experience (technical positions), data quality, siloed operations and more. Automation does not allow solving problems at individual functions.

Breaking down silos between functions is always a challenge, but it is especially difficult for ports that supply the sea/land interface. One of the basic principles of automation is controlling the process, which requires the use of integrated technology for efficient monitoring of traffic and trade flows in the end-to-end terminal process of ports.

A paper published by the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA – an independent organization promoting digitally interconnected container shipping) notes the need for a transition from paper-heavy trade transactions to electronic billing. Use of a digital bill of lading (BL – shipment receipt) could result in potential savings of $4 billion per year if only 50% of the shipping industry would adopt the technology.

An OECD report states that global container handling in ports would rise to four times the current levels by 2030, if ports were smart and automated.

Attempts to create an electronic bill of lading (eBL) began in the late 1990s and now more than 20 years later the issue is back on the agenda. It has been called the “Holy Grail of global trade”, referring to a treasure with miraculous powers; however the many obstacles on the way have prevented implementation of the technology.

  • How do we connect the ship with road transport?

The transition to an optimized process of connecting sea freight to road transport will take some time. We would like to offer some suggestions: 

Short-term optimization of sea freight transport – Multimodal transport involves the use of more than one type of haulage. The best option today is container shipping, where we can combine sea, rail and land transport. This is the easiest way since container shipping companies provide the vehicles, organize the loading in point A and the unloading in point B, while tracking the process. Today, there are companies developing the use of shared shipping containers, allowing different companies to place their cargo in one container in order to get a full load. 

Long-term – The concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0) relates to the ongoing automation of traditional industrial practices using modern smart technology. True optimization of port administration, Port 4.0, is considered to be part of this future 4IR. A smart digitalized port will include the use of innovative technologies to increase efficiency and improve performance, ensure security and cyber-security as well as reduce harmful emissions.

  • Which technologies can help us create smart ports?

Big Data has many uses for logistics in the maritime shipping industry, and one of the most important applications is predicting the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of vessels. Different sources (sensors, texts, audios, videos) of information are needed to track ships and cargo, while big data is used to manage ship sensors and for predictive analysis.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more specifically machine learning (ML), can be used to enhance shipping routes by determining the best course at the best speed. For optimization and efficiency of the shipping industry, decision-making automation can forecast and optimize performance by reducing human error and accidents, and in addition increase work safety and security.

Internet of Things (IoT) enables real-time tracking and monitoring of cargo at all levels by Port Authorities. It is used to determine location and to identify in detail what each ship is carrying by using sensors.

Blockchain was addressed in one of our previous blogs. This innovative technology stores transaction data which is impossible to change or delete. It provides an open platform paperwork-free system.

These above-mentioned technologies are powerful tools for the shipping industry and enable actions to be carried out rapidly, such as unloading cargo at the port. Port congestion is reduced, resources are saved and there is less damage to the environment. 

New ideas are on the table for ship owners. For example, digital twin models will provide a tool for visualization of ship and subsystems, qualification and analytics of operational data, optimization of ship performance, improved internal and external communication, and safe handling of increased levels of autonomy.

We at Trucknet support the idea of creating an ecosystem, where smart vehicles are combined with virtual processes in the digital world. The concept of integration and connection between all systems and processes only can be achieved with maximum transparency and connectivity. In a world of digitalization and sharing economy, business efficiency will be improved and environmental concerns can be addressed.

“Digitalization is a path, not a journey; Digitalization is not all about technology, it is an intersection of technology, innovation and processes – all equally important” 

– Mark O’Neil, Columbia Marlow

Problems of fuel consumption in transportation sector

10 November 2022

Hanan Friedman photo

Hanan Friedman

Founder and President

In everyday life in the world of logistics, we deal with issues of fuel consumption, the cost for diesel fuel and the high quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; over 20% of global emissions are from the transport sector.  It is simple math: each truck on the road emits around 223 tons of GHG emissions annually. From the beginning of 2022 the price of diesel has risen by 35% in the US due to Russian-Ukrainian war, while, on average, annual truck mileage is about 193,000 kilometers with fuel costs at around $67,000.

Achieving zero emissions is a huge challenge. Among the many measures being discussed and implemented for promoting low-carbon economies is electrification of the transport sector, with electricity generated from renewable sources. Though electric passenger car use is quickly spreading all over the world, electric transport for heavy vehicles is developing at a much slower pace and real solutions are not yet available. Diesel remains the main type of fuel for heavy vehicles – used by 96% of the trucks in Europe and 76% of those in the United States.

We believe that the world needs to act now to find a sustainable solution for the logistics sector. And Trucknet has found a solution for saving diesel in heavy transport. The United States Ministry of Defense invested in a patent and Trucknet has received exclusive approval to use this patented smart catalyst device within its platform, which offers monitoring and calculation of GHG emissions. One of the main advantages of the device is that it can be installed between the fuel filter and the high-pressure fuel pump, without changing the system of the engine.

 See the image below

Trucknet Fuel Catalyst

How does this device work?

In regular diesel engines fuel molecules have a natural tendency to cluster. Clustered molecules do not burn completely. At the point of combustion, the outer molecules shield the inner molecules from being completely covered with oxygen. The result is that the molecules untouched by oxygen go unburned and are blown out of the exhaust as wasted fuel in the form of CO, CO2, SO2, NOx, total hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and other harmful greenhouse gases.

When using the Trucknet smart fuel catalyst, fuel passes through the device allowing it to burn more efficiently, using precisely manufactured combinations of rare earth elements and refined metals reactions. Polarization or separation of clustered fuel molecules provides for more molecules to be exposed to oxygen. The fuel molecules temporarily repel each other creating more surface area which allows oxygen and hydrogen to surround the dispersed molecules, facilitating a more complete fuel burn. Changing the ratio of single-bonded unsaturated straight-chain aliphatic compounds to double-bonded non-saturated ring-compound aromatics releases a small quantity of hydrogen gas.

What problems does the fuel catalyst solve?

Use of the device can bring about a number of environmental and financial advantages. The savings for fuel is reaching 10% and for emissions is up to 20%. To clarify the figures, we can look at the data presented at the beginning of the article: for an average truck the savings on fuel will be approximately $6,700 and 67 tons of GHG emissions per year! In addition, the catalyst is easy to install by diesel mechanics, even those without special skills or equipment, within 30 minutes; thereby extending engine life, reducing the amount of black carbon from the exhaust by up to 50% with an ROI of less than 12 months. Moreover, the device does not need any maintenance and has a warranty for three years.

The device is used in combination with our platform, through a system provided to monitor the savings gained; the results appear in each e-CMR after every ride is completed, part of the synergy of the Israel-USA venture. We believe that in addition to optimization of the logistics process and reducing empty miles it is important to document the results of actual emissions saved from the use of the smart fuel catalyst.

The emissions saved can be traded in the carbon markets that are opening up around the world.

Save fuel – save emissions – save money.