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DHL Freight, Volvo Trucks Join Forces to Speed Up Fossil-Free Transport

DHL Freight, one of the leading road freight providers in Europe, and Volvo Trucks have partnered to speed up the introduction of heavy duty electric trucks to be used for regional transport in Europe and beyond.

The joint effort marks another important step toward climate neutral transport solutions, the companies said. So far, the main use of electric trucks has been for shorter distances within cities and urban areas. Now DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks have initiated a project focusing on longer distance heavy transports.

The cooperation includes exclusive, worldwide pilot tests of a fully electric Volvo FH truck with gross combination weights up to 60 tons. Starting in March, the truck will operate between two DHL Freight logistics terminals in Sweden, a distance of approximately 150 kilometers each way.

During the trial, Volvo and DHL said they will gain important experience and information regarding the setup and operation of an adequate charging infrastructure. The insights will help to optimize the right balance between operated distance, load weight and charging points in daily road freight operations. DHL is actively working, along with Volvo Trucks, on the reduction of its ecological footprint, with sustainability being an integral part of the company’s strategy.

“Our aim is to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero,” Uwe Brinks, CEO at DHL Freight, said. “Important milestones have already been achieved in meeting this–compared to 2007, our group’s CO2 efficiency has improved by 35 percent. However, we need innovative technological solutions and strong partnerships along this journey. I’m confident that our strong cooperation with Volvo Trucks, one of the major truck brands in the world, will support us in achieving our ambitious environmental goals in the road freight sector.”

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Volvo Trucks noted it is driving the necessary shift toward fossil-free transports by making the transition to electrification as seamless and efficient as possible. This is done by considering every aspect of the eco-system for electrification, including charging, route planning, vehicles, service and other support.

“The transport business is changing rapidly and to be sustainable is an increasingly important business advantage for many of our customers,” Roger Alm, president at Volvo Trucks, said. “We offer effective transport solutions that help make a fast transition to fossil-free fuels, such as electricity. We have a longstanding relationship with DHL. Their broad and global expertise in logistics allows us to study the conditions to progress with this technology shift, adapting to customer needs and their type of transport operation.”

DHL Freight has introduced a climate-friendly shipping program in Sweden in which customers pay a fixed surcharge for every parcel or pallet shipped and the income generated from the surcharges is fully invested in clean technologies within the Swedish network.

“The logistics sector is facing a huge challenge, which also offers a great opportunity at the same time–the decarbonization of freight transportation,” Robert Zander, CEO of DHL Freight Sweden, said. “The collaboration with Volvo Trucks helps DHL Freight to play an even bigger role in the transition to sustainable alternatives and is another significant proof point for our long-term strategy towards climate-neutral transportation.”

DHL Supply Chain recently put a new Volvo FL Electric into operation in London, introducing the first purpose-built fully electric Volvo truck for city distribution in the U.K. At the end of last year, Volvo Trucks in North America started sales of the VNR Electric and this year will mark the sales start in Europe of the heavy-duty electric product range.

“Our commitment is that our entire truck sales range will be fossil-free by 2040 at the latest,” Alm added.

The DHL-Volvo project will start in the first quarter of 2021 and is part of REEL, an initiative run by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova to promote the transition to an electrified freight transport system.