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Artificial Intelligence in the service of the climate

We are constantly developing solutions for planning, controlling and monitoring production and transportation for more efficient and climate-smarter operations.

High capacity utilization for maximum efficiency and optimizing routes are key elements. Capacity utilization is about maximizing use of the load space and thus transporting as little air as possible. Trials of digital visualization and artificial intelligence (AI) have been conducted in order to measure and optimize capacity utilization. Using an AI-enabled image and video analytics solution, existing security cameras at terminals can be used to automatically and dynamically measure the filling rate in vehicles, in real time and without manual intervention. Large volumes of real-time data enable analysis that can both alert on errors and provide insights on how to further optimize capacity utilization, thus avoiding unnecessary transports.

The project "AI for Resource-Smart Logistics Flows", a collaboration between PostNord TPL (third-party logistics) and Skrym, was granted financial support by the Swedish Energy Agency. The project runs until September 2023 and aims to achieve sustainable efficiency for PostNord's TPL customers by reducing the amount of air in their parcels.

Advanced AI route planning is based on historical and real-time data in order to ensure the shortest possible driving distance and at the same time the best possible estimated delivery time.

We make everyday life easier... for the climate

Our network of parcel lockers is being established throughout the Nordics, and the lockers will be placed close enough so that recipients won’t have to drive to collect their parcel, lessening the climate impact. Varubrev deliveries are always made to the recipient's home within the established mail process and in many locations are delivered by electric vehicles.

PostNord was one of the initiators of a Nordic Swan Ecolabel for e-commerce transport. The criteria will apply a holistic approach to e-commerce transport and will include fuel, mode of transport, capacity utilization, coordination, fair working conditions, delivery time and road safety. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel will cover the entire transport chain, from the e-retailer's warehouse to the consumer, i.e. both line-haul and last mile. PostNord and other transport companies will be able to apply for a license and consumers will be able to easily choose the Nordic Swan Ecolabel delivery option at check-out with the e-commerce operator.

Climate-smart e-commerce logistics

Double-deck trailers doubling the capacity per trailer have been developed for mail movements, halving emissions per letter. These trailers are used in customer collaborations, as well as in pallet and parcel movements.

All PostNord’s major sorting terminals in Sweden, with one exception, have rail connections. In Norway, most parcel and pallet volumes are carried by rail.

It is not only in cargo space that inefficiencies may arise. Even the packages themselves can contain more air than is necessary. During the year, PostNord was involved in several seminars, research projects and development activities in order to drive change in the area in partnership with customers, suppliers, consumers, packaging suppliers and academic institutions. Going forward, optimization of packaging and transport will play a key role. By optimizing packaging, we can transport more goods in fewer vehicles.

In the Swedish market, PostNord is implementing an initiative in cooperation with the Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, to reduce the size of packaging and thus the air in parcels. This initiative has also attracted support among consumers who are annoyed by the amount of air in their parcels and unnecessary packaging that they have to separate and recycle. To encourage e-commerce operators to make their contribution, the PostNord Airfluencers initiative was launched, inviting consumers to nominate examples of air-efficient parcels for “Airfluencer of the Year”, as their contribution to more eco-friendly e-commerce.

At its Åbo terminal, PostNord has invested in a new automation line that optimizes and minimizes packaging size. The technology works by placing normally packed cartons in a row in which the equipment measures the carton's fill level and minimizes its size. No empty space is left in the packaging and there is no need to add space fillers such as plastic or paper. While automation reduces heavy lifting for employees, the size of the box can be reduced by up to 30 percent on average, which also reduces the climate impact of transports.

In northern Sweden, geographical distances are large and there is also an imbalance in the transport flow, with larger volumes going north than south. During the year, logistics specialists at PostNord established a collaboration in which customers are offered customized southbound transports based on their needs. This benefits customers, the climate and profitability.

Climate-smart vehicles and fuels

PostNord is engaged in major electrification of its vehicle fleet. All countries are gradually phasing in electric vehicles according to local production needs. In 2021, the total share of electricallypowered bicycles, mopeds and small delivery vehicles was 95 percent. The share of medium-sized electric vehicles was just 2 percent and as yet we do not have any large electric vehicles in our own fleet. Technology is developing rapidly and PostNord has good relationships and close contacts with vehicle suppliers.

Biofuels are an important part of the transition to a fossil-free PostNord by 2030. We aim to continually increase the share of renewable fuels for vehicles that previously ran on diesel. We avoid palm oil and residual products from palm oil. The share of renewable fuels used in PostNord’s own and procured transportation was 37 percent in 2021. The predominant fuel is HVO100, which can be used in existing diesel vehicles. Other renewable fuels, of which the main option is biogas, require modification or dedicated vehicles.

Fossil-free cities

During the year, PostNord scaled up the transition to fossil-free deliveries in major cities. The first initiatives in 2020 were Fossilfritt Södermalm, Stockholm, and a fossil-free zone in the old town of Malmö. The project was extended during 2021 to Helsingborg, Lund and Gothenburg, including Mölndal. Further expansion will require new vehicles. In 2022, the initiative will be extended to cover the whole of Stockholm City, the whole of Malmö and Uppsala.

Several similar projects are in progress in Denmark. In addition to investing in new electric vehicles, we have also invested heavily in switching diesel in existing vehicles to fossil-free HVO100, which is produced mainly from slaughterhouse waste.

In Norway, the order for 40 new biogas cars, for delivery in the first half of 2022, has demonstrated our commitment to the climate agreement with the Municipality of Oslo that we signed during the year. PostNord thus became one of 22 new members of "Business for Climate". Other cities with fossil-free city center transport are Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger and Kristiansand.