External costs of supply chain transport emissions. An exploratory analysis

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management commissioned CE Delft to perform an exploratory analysis of the external costs of the emissions (CO2, NOx, particulates) associated with production, maintenance and disposal of transport vehicles and construction, maintenance, management and disposal of transport infrastructure (here together termed ‘supply chain transport emissions’).

The external costs of these supply chain emissions were estimated for four representative trips: Amersfoort—Paris, Amersfoort—London, Amersfoort—Barcelona and Amersfoort—Rome, by four modes of transport: car, coach, rail and air. On the relatively short trips (to Paris and London) the external costs are highest for air (and car), but on longer flights these emissions are spread out over more kilometres and more passengers (since larger aircraft are used on longer flights), significantly lowering the external costs per aircraft passenger on trips to Rome and Barcelona, for which the costs associated with car travel are considerably higher. On the trips considered, the external costs of the lifecycle emissions for coach and rail are substantially lower than for cars.

The external costs of supply chain emissions form a significant part of the total external costs of mobility. On the four representative trips considered, these costs are 15-20% of the total external costs in the case of cars, 13-23% for coach, 8-14% for rail and 4-9% for air.

Given the exploratory nature of this study, a number of assumptions had to be made, while novel methods were applied. Consequently, there are uncertainties in the results. However, the results of this study do provide a good initial indication of the magnitude of the external costs of the supply chain emissions.