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Green light!

Lufthansa Cargo is the industry leader when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions – for example, with intelligent and lightweight flying. Partnerships like the one with DB Schenker play an important role. Two environmental managers show us how it’s done.

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Whether it’s tools or water bottles, everything’s got to go. Friedemann Schaude has been waiting impatiently for this day. The Lufthansa Cargo pilot’s main ambition is to slim down the aircraft as much as possible.

“We’re going to take out every movable object, weigh it, and scrutinize every piece. Every department, from the technicians to catering, will have to give us a good reason to put it back on board.”

The flight captain hopes to reduce the MD-11’s weight by around 50 kilograms with the “clear-out.” That’s a lot, considering that every kilogram costs about 3.5 tons of kerosene and around 11 tons of carbon dioxide per year. At 14,500 flights a year, that totals more than 50,000 tons of fuel and 159,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Andrea Dorothea Schön is impressed by these numbers.

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The Manager for Environment and Green Logistics at DB Schenker picks up a magic cube with eight green symbols, one of them an airplane. She’s sitting in the office of her colleague, Bettina Jansen, Head of Environmental Management at Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt, where she has come to compare notes and to get a picture of Lufthansa Cargo’s environmental management. The “Environment Cube”, which Jansen developed, symbolizes the strategic framework for a continuous improvement of Lufthansa Cargo’s environmental performance. Every symbol on the cube stands for a field of activity in which the goals are regularly checked to see if they’ve been met and are furnished with new measures. It’s not the plane, though, that has caught Schön’s eye, but rather a green footprint that stands for data transparency.

DB Schenker, one of the leading providers of integrated logistics, advises its clients in the field of climate protection. How much CO2 the transportation of cargo emits is moving more and more into the spotlight.

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The level of emissions plays a role in deciding which routes are flown and which carriers are used. “Our clients want to know how much CO2 is produced during transportation,” says Andrea Dorothea Schön. 

The values go into the equation for the carbon footprint of the final product. Lufthansa Cargo is one of the preferred carriers for the logistics giant. “Even though there are still weak spots in the equation, Lufthansa Cargo is one of the very few cargo airlines that deliver reliable data,” she adds.

The freighter fleet’s specific carbon dioxide emissions fell from 781 to 499 grams per ton-kilometer between 1996 and 2012. By 2020 they should be reduced to 25 percent of the 2005 levels. “We’ve already reached almost 10 percent,” says Bettina Jansen. 

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The five new Boeing 777 freighters, of which the first two will go into service this year, will reduce the emissions even further. More efficient engines, nanotechnology in the paint used on the planes, and even regular cleaning of the engines are all a part of it.”

Despite all technological measures, a flight’s efficiency and its fuel savings depends for the most part on the pilot. “We’re responsible for flying the machine, from ordering the fuel to using it in flight, and therefore carry a great responsibility, and we all know it,” says Captain Schaude, who trains his colleagues in environment and resource-friendly flying.

For example, the pilot can actively try to get the most economical runway. “In Frankfurt it can cost 200 to 500 kilograms of fuel if I have to take a longer departure route because of an unfavorable starting direction,” says Schaude.

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Fuel-efficient flying continues with the exact calculation of start data, the earliest possible entry into the optimal rate of climb, the choice of the right cruising altitude, inquiring about shorter routes with flight control, or leaving cruising altitude as late as possible, so that the descent can be initiated continuously. The fuel-saving program lists a total of 61 measures. One of the most important points for fine-tuning is ordering the kerosene. The pilots determine how much extra fuel is needed for possible holding patterns or alternative landings. “We’ve been able to cut this down from an average of 2.7 to 1.1 tons per flight,” Schaude reports.

Lufthansa Cargo uses a good 600,000 tons of kerosene per year. Captain Schaude hopes that the introduction of the Flight Ops Analyzers in 2014 will achieve a one percent reduction. The system collects flight data, evaluates it at the end of the flight and tells the pilots whether their decisions made a difference in saving fuel. “We’ve never gotten this information before,” says Schaude. The data, after having been rendered anonymous, is distributed to all pilots and can be used for future flight plans.

Still, “weight watching” remains the most immediate way to reduce fuel consumption. That also goes for cargo containers. By the middle of this year, Lufthansa Cargo will have replaced its entire inventory of traditional aluminum containers – over 5,000 units – with lightweight composite material containers, which weigh in at about 13 kilograms less. That means 2,160 tons of kerosene and 6,800 tons of CO2 per year, equal to the figures for 50 flights from Frankfurt to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. 

And the second generation of lightweight containers is already in the works. “Now they’re working on the aluminum baseplate. If it can be replaced with a more lightweight material, that would be another big step,” says Martin Krämer, Head of Marketing at the Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary Jettainer, which manages the loading devices. Lightweight pallets are also in development.

Weight reduction is also Harald Eggenweiler’s main topic. “We’ve been able to achieve massive quality improvements,” says the team leader for local loading devices at Lufthansa Cargo. In 2010 there were 1,071 tons of refuse to dispose of. In 2011 it was only 806 tons. 2,282 tons were recycled – that’s 237 tons more than in 2010. And despite the fact that there was an increase in flown tonnage.

You can see how it’s done in the recycling center and at the waste separation points in the cargo halls. There are yellow signs with labels for each material above the collection boxes. “We’ve expanded the categories. Besides the non-recyclable waste we’ve now got containers for wood, plastic, metal, paper, styrofoam, and plastic sheets,” Eggenweiler explains. Colored and transparent sheets are collected separately – and sold. It’s worth it. The profits from the sale of recyclable material rose a respectable 84 percent between 2010 and 2011. “Waste disposal used to be a cost factor. Now we’re in the black,” says Eggenweiler, not without pride.
    
Andrea Dorothea Schön picks up the Environment Cube again and points to the symbol for partnerships. “The topic of the environment in airfreight is very complex. But I’m pleasantly surprised about everything they’re doing here,” she says. Together with Bettina Jansen, the environmental manager wants to start a customer project to survey optimization potential in the supply chain. It will definitely include the evaluation of emissions during transportation – and how they can best be prevented.

www.dbschenker.com

Climate Conference.    
How do the experts see the future of airfreight in the light of climate change? What do scientists and politicians have to say? In the framework of the third Cargo Climate Care Conference (April 24, 2013, Frankfurt a. M.), Lufthansa Cargo invites you to discuss possible scenarios with us and to develop implementation oriented proposals that can be put into practice. At the conference the Cargo Climate Care Award will also be presented – for the most innovative ideas for improving the carbon footprint in airfreight transportation.

www.lufthansa-cargo.com/green

Photos:

Jörg Ladwig

planet 1/2013

Still, “weight watching” remains the most immediate way to reduce fuel consumption. That also goes for cargo containers. By the middle of this year, Lufthansa Cargo will have replaced its entire inventory of traditional aluminum containers – over 5,000 units – with lightweight composite material containers, which weigh in at about 13 kilograms less. That means 2,160 tons of kerosene and 6,800 tons of CO2 per year, equal to the figures for 50 flights from Frankfurt to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. 

And the second generation of lightweight containers is already in the works. “Now they’re working on the aluminum baseplate. If it can be replaced with a more lightweight material, that would be another big step,” says Martin Krämer, Head of Marketing at the Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary Jettainer, which manages the loading devices. Lightweight pallets are also in development.

Weight reduction is also Harald Eggenweiler’s main topic. “We’ve been able to achieve massive quality improvements,” says the team leader for local loading devices at Lufthansa Cargo. In 2010 there were 1,071 tons of refuse to dispose of. In 2011 it was only 806 tons. 2,282 tons were recycled – that’s 237 tons more than in 2010. And despite the fact that there was an increase in flown tonnage.

You can see how it’s done in the recycling center and at the waste separation points in the cargo halls. There are yellow signs with labels for each material above the collection boxes. “We’ve expanded the categories. Besides the non-recyclable waste we’ve now got containers for wood, plastic, metal, paper, styrofoam, and plastic sheets,” Eggenweiler explains. Colored and transparent sheets are collected separately – and sold. It’s worth it. The profits from the sale of recyclable material rose a respectable 84 percent between 2010 and 2011. “Waste disposal used to be a cost factor. Now we’re in the black,” says Eggenweiler, not without pride.

Andrea Dorothea Schön picks up the Environment Cube again and points to the symbol for partnerships. “The topic of the environment in airfreight is very complex. But I’m pleasantly surprised about everything they’re doing here,” she says. Together with Bettina Jansen, the environmental manager wants to start a customer project to survey optimization potential in the supply chain. It will definitely include the evaluation of emissions during transportation – and how they can best be prevented.

www.dbschenker.com

Climate Conference. 
How do the experts see the future of airfreight in the light of climate change? What do scientists and politicians have to say? In the framework of the third Cargo Climate Care Conference (April 24, 2013, Frankfurt a. M.), Lufthansa Cargo invites you to discuss possible scenarios with us and to develop implementation oriented proposals that can be put into practice. At the conference the Cargo Climate Care Award will also be presented – for the most innovative ideas for improving the carbon footprint in airfreight transportation.

www.lufthansa-cargo.com/green

 

Photos:

Jörg Ladwig

planet 1/2013