Low Carbon Freight Transport in a Climate-Changed World

Prof. Alan McKinnon - Bivec-Gibet Transport Chair 2016-2017

November 16, 2016 (Brussels)

March 23, 2017 (Rotterdam)

May 18, 2017 (Liège)

The BIVEC-GIBET Transport Chair awards an individual who has made an important scientific contribution and/or significant social merits related to transport and mobility within Europe. The chair is awarded every two years. The first recipient (in 2012) was professor David Banister (University of Oxford). The second recipient (in 2014) was professor Jonas Eliasson (Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)). The 2016 laureate is professor Alan C. McKinnon (Kuehne Logistics University, Hamburg).

Professor McKinnon has pursued an academic career since October 1979 specialising in transport and logistics. His PhD on the spatial organization of physical distribution in the food industry was one of the first undertaken in the UK on logistics. His initial appointment was as a lecturer in economic geography at the University of Leicester. Between 1987 and 2012 he was based at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh where he established a research centre specializing in logistics and a master's program in logistics and supply chain management. In 2012 he moved to Hamburg to become Head of Logistics and Dean of Programs in the Kuehne Logistics University, a private university set up in 2010 with funding from the Kuehne Foundation.

On accepting the chair, the laureate will give three public lectures. These lectures are free of charge for all BIVEC-GIBET members and for students. All other participants are welcomed as well, and pay 25 EUR on the day of the lecture. Registration for all is necessary. Please send an email to leen.depaepe@ugent.be to confirm your presence.

The overall theme of professor McKinnon's BIVEC-GIBET Transport Chair lectures is "Low Carbon Freight Transport in a Climate-Changed World Background". Three lectures relating to this theme are: 

1. Decarbonising Freight Transport 

The first lecture will focus on carbon mitigation in the freight sector. This sector will be one of the most difficult to decarbonise, partly because freight traffic volumes are forecast to rise steeply over the next few decades but also because of its heavy dependence on fossil fuels. It may become necessary to suppress future freight demand though for the foreseeable future this is unlikely to gain political traction. . Emphasis will instead be placed on the numerous ways of driving down the carbon intensity of freight transport. They will be classified with respect to five key parameters: supply chain structure, freight modal shift, vehicle utilisation, energy efficiency and energy carbon content. The lecture identify the measures likely to offer the most cost-effective mean of decarbonising freight transport both globally and at a European level. 

VENUE: BRUSSELS, Wednesday November 16, 2016, 14u-16u30, Benelux Unie, Regentschapsstraat 39, B1000 Brussel. 

Local organisator: André Van der Niet.

2. Adapting Freight Transport to Climate Change

The second lecture will reverse the causality and assess the exposure of the freight transport system to climate change. The movement of freight by all the main modes will be vulnerable to extreme weather and sea level rise increasing the risk of supply chain disruption. This risk can be mitigated by a multi-stakeholder effort to climate-proof infrastructure, improve the resilience of logistical services and reverse management practices , such as just-in-time replenishment and single sourcing, which have made supply chains more susceptible to climatic impacts. Adaptation of logistical systems to climate change will not be confined to these measures. It will also involve moving the vast amounts of material that will be required to climate-proof the built environment and relocate settlements. Climate-induced changes in patterns of agricultural production will reconfigure food and biofuel supply chains and the related patterns of freight flow. In the event of a 'climate emergency', it may be necessary to resort to geo-engineering 'solutions' to avert ecological and humanitarian disasters. As they would have to be organised on a planetary scale, what stresses would this place on the freight transport system. 

VENUE: ROTTERDAM, March 23, 2017, Rotterdam University

Local organisator: Ton van den Hanenberg.

3. Interaction between Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the Freight Sector

The third lecture will examine the inter-relationship between efforts to cut freight-related carbon emissions and the need to adjust freight transport systems to the climate change already 'in the pipeline'. The inter-connections between mitigation and adaptation in the freight sector have so far received little attention from researchers. This leaves several important questions unanswered. For example, to what extent are mitigation and adaptation efforts in conflict or mutually-supporting in this sector? Are financial resources being optimally allocated between these efforts in different parts of the world? Allowing for climatic lag effects, over what time-scales are decarbonisation measures likely to mitigate climate impacts sufficiently to ease adaptation pressures? Given current levels of uncertainty in climate modelling, transport risk exposure and the long term prospects of freight decarbonisation, these are extremely difficult questions to answer, though they are worth exploring at this early stage in the development of a climate change strategy for freight transport. 

VENUE: LIEGE, Thursday May 18, 2017, 16u-18u30, Université de Liège à 14 rue Louvrex, B4000 Liège.

Local organisator: prof. Mario Cools