DHL Global Forwarding signs up for United’s SAF programme

By Damian Brett

DHL Global Forwarding is joining United Airlines sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) programme as it continues to ramp up its green strategy.

The world’s largest airfreight forwarder said that as part of United’s Eco-Skies Alliance programme it will contribute towards the purchase of 3.4m gallons of SAF this year.

The reductions in carbon footprint are then allocated by DHL to its customers.

DHL Global Forwarding, Freight chief executive Tim Scharwath said: “Through this partnership we will be able to show how a market mechanism for SAF can help airlines, freight forwarders, and shippers work together to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, ultimately zero carbon emissions transport sector.”

The forwarder also plans to launch a ‘book and claim’ system to enable customers to ramp up their use of SAF and be allocated SAF certificates to validate the corresponding reduction in their carbon footprint.

The ‘book and claim’ mechanism is currently being trialed with select customers and will be made available to all customers later this year. 

The SAF certificate concept is being developed by the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow’s Demand Signal group.

Christoph Wolff, head of shaping the future of mobility, World Economic Forum, said: “The ‘book and claim’ mechanism is an essential element of SAF certificates. We need frontrunners like Demand Signal group participants United Airlines and DHL Global Forwarding to put concepts into practice so that it can be validated and turned into a formal standard.”

Jan Krems, president of United Cargo, said: “Reducing our emissions from fuel use is critically important and when companies as large as DHL recognise the value in switching to SAF, we’re another step closer to establishing SAF as a long-term, permanent solution for aviation.”

DHL is not the only forwarder to have signed up for Unites’ SAF programme — in April CEVA also joined the initiative.

DHL said the move represents a “starting point in the SAF uplift” at the company.

Earlier this year, Deutsche Post DHL announced it would invest €7bn in green technologies, such as sustainable aviation fuel, to help it further reduce its Co2 emissions over the next ten years.

The company is aiming to reduce its CO2 emissions from 33m tonnes in 2020 to under 29m tonnes by 2030. To achieve this, it will gradually operate its vehicles and buildings more sustainably.

For example, by 2030, it aims for at least 30% of fuel requirements in its aviation and line haul operations to be covered by sustainable fuels.

And the GoGreen carrier evaluation programme from DHL Global Forwarding gives preference to carriers with strong environmental performance.

“United Airlines is one of DHL Global Forwarding’s key carriers. The airline has been in the top three of the GoGreen Carrier Evaluation for many years, and like Deutsche Post DHL Group, United Airlines is an active member in World Economic Forum’s ‘Clean Skies for Tomorrow’ initiative. Both companies have been working jointly on sustainability initiatives since 2016,” DHL said.

By 2050, Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero.

The last 12 months has seen companies in the air cargo sector launch a series of green initiatives.

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has launched a SAF programme, with K+N one of the first participants.

Meanwhile, DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo have teamed up to launch a regular CO2-neutral freighter route, operating between Frankfurt and Shanghai.

Also, Kuehne+Nagel has entered into an agreement with American Airlines to deploy 11m litres of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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