28 april  2020

Pon is making transportation greener through biodiesel

Pon aims to reduce its CO2 emissions as actively as possible. A key part of that involves making transportation greener by using biodiesel (HVO).

Pon Logistics has a special Transport department, which is managed by Henk Heijnen. “In my job, I try to achieve a synergy between the various companies within Pon in terms of quality, service level and costs,” he explains. “If you want to go green, you have to cover all these aspects.”

Transportation is part of Pon’s ‘Big Five’ when it comes to CO2 emissions. At the top are hired transportation (trailers that carry cars and parts to the dealers) and employee lease cars. They are followed by waste, energy and travel. In order to ensure that Pon achieves a reduction in CO2 emissions, Henk’s department was assigned the challenge of achieving CO2 savings through transportation at the end of 2016. In combination with other CO2 savings and compensation measures, this will contribute to achieving the broader target: achieving a CO2-neutral Pon.

“We started exploring the options, and in the end there were two directions we could take: reduction and becoming greener,” Henk explains. “We had already done a lot of work to reduce our CO2 emissions, such as optimizing routes and increasing the load factor; so there was no major saving to be made there. But we could make savings by becoming greener: through electrification, for example, but there aren’t many options in that area yet. Another option was to use sustainable fuel such as gas, CNG or biodiesel. We opted for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), which is a synthetic fuel made from biomass and can save huge amounts of CO2 (up to almost 90%). And the great thing is that our own brand, MAN, has HVO-proof trucks.”

Pon’s transport company, Koopman, seemed the obvious partner for the realization. Henk: “They provide over half of our transportation, and given our long-lasting relationship of almost 45 years, they were willing to invest. They had a tank installation for HVO placed on their premises in Nijkerk and purchased a number of MAN trucks suitable for HVO. Those trucks are used to transport both cars and parts. This enabled us to make a substantial amount of fuel consumed for Pon greener in 2018 and 2019, and the same will happen this year.

One disadvantage is that HVO is more expensive than diesel. After all, sustainability doesn’t come cheap. “But we have been able to offset the extra costs by initiating optimization projects,” says Henk enthusiastically. “By being more flexible with delivery times, so that on average you have more cars per journey and therefore fewer journeys and kilometers. Becoming greener really does pay off.”