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    DB Schenker encourages subcontractors to switch fleet to electric vehicles

    Transport companies are constantly looking for more sustainable and cost-effective solutions to provide logistics services. As technology advances, electric vehicles have become an increasingly attractive option.

    DB Schenker has extensive experience in the use of electric vans and trucks in Finland. In 2021, the company expanded its fleet of electrically powered vehicles by starting to use FUSO eCanter trucks in Turku and Helsinki. Positive experiences have led to an increase in the use of electric vehicles: for example, groupage deliveries in the Tampere city center are already served by fully electric trucks.

    Electric RoadShow brings electric vehicles and subcontractors together

    DB Schenker's global objective is to be completely climate-neutral by 2040. Meeting this target will require close cooperation with subcontractors. DB Schenker encourages its partners to switch fleet to low-emission vehicles as well.

    "We have around 1200 vehicles in DB Schenker’s fleet in Finland . To reach our target, we will have to take dozens of electric vehicles into use in the coming years," says Petri Sinkko, DB Schenker's Head of Collection and Distribution in Finland.

    In the autumn, DB Schenker has organized its own tour called Electric RoadShow for showcasing electric vehicles for subcontractors  . The roadshow has brought together nearly 30 subcontractors and around 10 electric vehicle retailers in Vantaa, Lempäälä and Lieto.

    "Among other things, our subcontractors have asked tough questions for example about battery technology and operating range of these vehicles in winter," Sinkko continues.

    Cost-efficiency makes electric vehicles attractive

    The challenges of electrifying truck fleet are very similar to regular cars: the initial investments of electric vehicles are higher than their diesel counterparts. However, the financial deal may be better over the long haul.

    "For electric vans, initial investment costs are about 10-20 % more expensive than for diesel vehicles – and even more for bigger vehicles," says Sinkko.

    Similarly, all-electric vehicles have substantially lower fuel and repair costs than conventional vehicles.

    "In general, it can cost about half as much to use an electric vehicle as an equivalent gasoline vehicle”, Sinkko explains.

    In Finland, companies may also be granted a purchase subsidy for purchasing electric and gas vehicles. The subsidy, which can be applied from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, is designed to help the shift of environmentally friendly mobility.

    "The subsidy for purchasing electric vehicles is significant for transport companies. For vans, the subsidy ranges from €2 000 to €6 000, and for trucks it can be up to €50 000 at best," reminds Sinkko.

    Green transition is a common goal in logistics

    The amounts of both subsidies and savings are naturally of interest to the transport entrepreneur. DB Schenker can also offer even more incentives to its subcontractors, such as charging infrastructure.

    For example, the electric charging service built at DB Schenker's terminal in Lempäälä can also be used by subcontractors with electric vehicles.

    "The infrastructure can also be expanded as the number of electronic vehicles in our network grows," Sinkko says.

    For instance, the charging infrastructure at the Lieto terminal is limited for DB Schenker's own FUSO eCanters only. More charging points and capacity will be built as the number of electric vehicles used by subcontractors increases.  

    In addition to charging at night and during breaks, close cooperation between drivers and transport coordinators makes it easier to plan daily journeys with electric vehicles.

    "In the future, we will have to take into account not only transport distances, driving time and rest periods, but also charging requirements for electric vehicles. The aim is to fit charging breaks on drivers' breaks. Charging speed also plays a role in the choice of a suitable charging point."

    Similarly, all-electric vehicles have substantially lower fuel and repair costs than conventional vehicles. / © DB Schenker

    Low emissions demanded by businesses and consumers

    Awareness of electronic vehicles and more sustainable supply chains is constantly growing. In the end, the prioritization is on customers and their needs.

    "Our customers have set themselves ambitious climate targets. When considering the carbon footprint, logistics plays a big role," says Sinkko and continues:

    "Delivery time, price and punctuality have been matched in tenders by zero emissions. Customers are interested in how their goods move. In addition, logistics companies are increasingly required to report on the emissions of their transport."

    This is not only seen in the business world. According to Sinkko, also consumers are even more interested in environmentally friendly transport.

    "Green options are becoming increasingly important, especially for e-commerce customers. When choosing transport, many customers value the fact that their order will be delivered to their home by electric truck. This is something we at DB Schenker of course want to help with."

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