A modal shift to shipping

AKTSAM report: Stakeholder collaboration for more energy-efficient modes of transport

A new report puts into light how stakeholder collaboration is of great importance to realize a shift to more energy-efficient modes of freight transport, such as railways and shipping. This, in turn, is important for achieving the long-term goals of a fossil fuels free society.

The report “Stakeholder collaboration for shifting goods to more energy-efficient modes of transport - the importance of trust and power” contributes to increased knowledge about drivers and barriers  to modal shift with a focus on collaboration between companies buying and providing transport.

- The project's purpose has been to explain how companies buying and providing transport through collaboration can realize the shift of goods from road to the more energy-efficient modes of rail and sea, says Vendela Santén, Strategic Manager Sustainable Maritime Logistics at SSPA, who stands behind this report together with Sara Rogerson, Senior Researcher and Project Manager at SSPA and Uni Sallnäs, Senior Lecturer in Logistics at the Department of Management and Engineering at Linköping University.

A number of case studies and interviews have been conducted with both companies sending and receiving goods (transport buying companies) and transport providers. Analysis of the interviews shows the importance of the balance between power and trust. The report also presents calculation examples of energy efficiency savings and climate savings (reduction of CO2 emissions) that can be achieved by shifting from road to shipping or rail.

Several aspects of power and trust were found to influence the possibilities for modal shift. Power was important to initiate modal shift, while trust was essential for the modal shift to last. The report describes that building trust, through time invested in understanding the other party, transparency about challenges and jointly seeking solutions, is key to establish long-term modal shifts.

- Decisions on modes of transport are not made by individual companies. Several actors influence the choice where transport buying companies, who need to send goods, and transport suppliers, who arrange and perform transports, are central to the decision, concludes Vendela Santén.

This research project was funded by the Swedish Energy Agency and carried out by SSPA and Linköping University 2018-2021.