Covestro implements electric trucks for short-distance chemical shuttling at Shanghai site

19 December 2023

To advance the pursuit of innovative models for decarbonising the chemical supply chain, Covestro initiated a pioneering green logistics pilot programme in collaboration with partners in China in November last year.

The successful collaboration has yielded positive results during the proof-of-concept phase and has now transitioned into operational implementation. This is marked by an agreement with COSCO Shipping Logistics & Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. to propel the commercial deployment of electric trucks dedicated to the short-distance transport of chemicals at Covestro Integrated Site Shanghai (CISS).

As part of this collaborative effort, the initial phase involves the introduction of the first electric heavy-duty truck to replace the existing diesel truck for transporting polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate (pMDI) from the Shanghai site to nearby warehouses. This transition is set to cover part of the annual pMDI shuttle volume at Covestro’s largest production site, resulting in a projected reduction of 43t of CO2 equivalent in well-to-wheel emissions (CO2 emissions over the entire life cycle of fuels) in 2024 compared to the 2022 baseline – a 22% decrease. The future use of green power to charge the trucks will further contribute to the goal of achieving net zero in logistics.

Both companies will consistently evaluate the electric truck’s performance and efficiency, aiming for continuous optimisation of the total cost of ownership associated with the vehicle. Based on these evaluations, decisions will be made regarding potential scalability.

“As a pivotal route toward achieving net zero, green logistics is poised to deliver sustainable solutions for mitigating scope 3 emissions. We look forward to working with Covestro to advance the exploration and adoption of sustainable logistics solutions in the chemical industry and contribute to the ultimate goal of net-zero emissions from the logistics side,” said Fu Peng, Executive Vice President of COSCO Shipping Logistics & Supply Chain Management.

“The supply chain plays a crucial role in the chemical industry’s journey to achieve climate neutrality, demanding collaboration beyond individual company boundaries. The commercial deployment of this groundbreaking electric truck for chemical shuttling is poised to act as a catalyst, propelling our site and company towards climate neutrality and a circular economy,” stated Dr. Yun Chen, General Manager of CISS.


This electric heavy-duty truck will be the first one to transport polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate (pMDI) from Covestro Integrated Site Shanghai to nearby warehouses. © Covestro


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Contributing to scope 3 emissions reduction

Approximately 80% of Covestro’s total emissions stem from scope 3 emissions, or indirect emissions resulting from upstream and downstream processes, including supply chains, material transport and raw material processing.

In the Asia Pacific region, where around 70% of Covestro’s products are transported by truck, concerted efforts to reduce emissions within the logistics framework are specifically targeted at trucks. In light of this, the green logistics programme was launched last year with the objective of devising more sustainable methods for road transportation via trucks. Collaborators in this endeavour include customers, logistics solution and infrastructure partners and industry organisations, with the network steadily expanding.

The programme is designed to rigorously assess the viability of specific strategies under distinct scenarios. Among the explored solutions is the utilization of subsidised biodiesel in Shanghai for long-haul transport of dangerous goods, as well as the integration of hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks.

“We are committed to expanding our network of partnerships to actively seek, pilot and scale up sustainable, low-carbon logistics solutions that meet both environmental and commercial needs. We anticipate continued progress in introducing new solutions aimed at significantly reducing our scope 3 emissions, thereby propelling us towards a climate-neutral future,” said Marius Wirtz, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain & Logistics Asia Pacific, Covestro.

Covestro has said that it is aiming to become operationally climate neutral – this includes reducing both direct emissions from its own operations (scope 1) as well as indirect emissions from purchased energy (scope 2) to net zero – by 2035. The company is poised to unveil its reduction targets for scope 3 emissions soon.

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