According to the International Energy Agency, the logistics industry currently accounts for 11-12% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Based on current policies, these numbers are only set to rise—reaching as high as 22% by 2050. 

Fortunately, the industry is beginning to make serious moves to shift that trajectory towards net zero emissions instead, thanks to a combination of impending regulation, customer pressure on their supply chain vendors, and a genuine desire to support climate action. Doing so has the potential to make a huge impact on climate change. But calculating shipping emissions is complicated—and it’s essential to get it right.

Emissions estimates are complex calculations

Retailers—particularly the largest brands—are increasingly adopting ambitious sustainability goals, and turning to their supply chain partners to help them reduce their Scope 3 emissions. To meet these demands for low-emissions or net-zero shipping, however, shippers and freight forwarders must first understand precisely the amount of emissions a given shipment represents. This means considering the shipment in all its nuances. 

When it comes to shipping by sea, for example, factors such as vessel size, weather, and ocean patterns can dramatically impact the route taken and, therefore, the emissions generated. Ground shipments, meanwhile, must account for fuel type, engine details, and truck weight, all of which can have a profound effect on generated emissions. 

For example: By air, the emissions for a shipment traveling by cargo plane from Lisbon to Hamburg are 31.2 tonnes, whereas they’re 39.7 tonnes when flying in the hull of a 777 passenger aircraft. And even on a direct sea trade lane like Shanghai to Hamburg, carbon footprint can vary twofold between the best and the worst vessel of a given carrier.

Simply calculating the distance between departure and arrival points does not account for myriad considerations that go into an accurate emissions estimate. That’s why Patch has partnered with Searoutes to offer their best-in-class shipping emissions estimation technology via the Patch API.

The Patch + Searoutes solution

By leveraging Searoutes’ granular calculation methods, algorithms and data processing capabilities, Patch is able to offer highly precise estimates that are the basis for meaningful climate action to make supply chains greener.

“Searoutes has deep expertise in this space,” explains Patch Co-Founder and CEO Brennan Spellacy. “This enables us to offer our customers better estimates that are constantly being optimized based on the latest advances in shipping footprint estimation.”

To make integration quick and easy, Patch has packaged this technology into our straightforward, developer-friendly API. And because not every business structures data the same way, the API includes plenty of optionality. The estimates are also GLEC-compliant and Smart Freight Centre-certified—in alignment with industry standards such as EN16258—so you and your customers can feel confident taking subsequent action to reduce and neutralize your emissions.

In fact, once you have an accurate estimate in hand, you can leverage Patch to purchase carbon credits that can help neutralize any emissions that can’t be avoided, either via our API or directly on our platform.

Searoutes Co-Founder and CEO Pierre Garreau expressed his excitement over the partnership: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Patch in order to bring accurate—and much needed—emissions calculations to a wider pool of businesses and thus empower shippers, freight forwarders, and logistics providers to take meaningful climate action.”

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