Outlook on Hinterland and Continental Freight 2018

If the Dutch logistics sector is serious about retaining its strong international position and at the same time making a robust contribution to achieving the Paris climate targets, it will need to forge ahead with all the strength and conviction at its disposal.

With this report TNO, CE Delft and Connekt present the first Outlook setting out the options available to the Dutch international freight transport sector for securing the CO2 reduction targets implied by the Paris climate accord. Hinterland transport from Dutch seaports and airports and continental international transport together account for a major share (around 60%) of the total CO2 emissions of Dutch freight transport and thus face a particularly hefty challenge when it comes to achieving the Paris targets. Transport, storage and transhipment will eventually have to be six times more efficient.

For five different segments (dry bulk, liquid bulk, fresh, consumer products and semi-finished goods) the options to boost efficiency have been identified and put into perspective relative to one another, thus outlining the potential transition paths available to each segment, specifying the major bottlenecks and considering the influence of (big) uncertainties and possible unexpected occurrences (dark horses). As the study makes clear, a rapid start needs to be made with as many options as possible; a couple of measures here and there are not nearly enough. Simply going all out for efficient, electric vehicles and ‘green’ fuels will not suffice, for example. A systemic approach is needed, implementing all the decarbonisation measures identified in this study. An immediate start will have to be made, as any delay will mean the decarbonisation challenge growing with every new year. The Outlook on Hinterland and Continental Freight can be downloaded here.

A substantial portion of the freight carried in the Netherlands is international in nature, with these operations accounting for a major share of transport- and logistics-related CO2 emissions. Overall, almost 1,800 million tonnes of goods are transported to and through the Netherlands each year. No less than 62% of this tonnage is transported inside the country’s borders, including hinterland transport to and from the seaports and airports.

The perspective for action
The Paris climate agreement consequently represents an enormous challenge for the sector: by the year 2050 international transport and logistics will have to become six times more efficient. This means that by then the CO2 emissions associated with international freight operations in the Netherlands will have to have been reduced to practically zero. At the request of Topsector Logistics, Connekt, TNO and CE Delft have inventoried the options available to the sector to rise to this major challenge. This Outlook is intended to inform stakeholders in the sector about the CO2 reduction options at their disposal and has been elaborated in consultation with many of them.

Based on the now completed first version of the Outlook, in the months ahead work will continue on further concretisation of the overall scope and details, with a more intensive round of consultations with government agencies, companies and organisations from the logistics and energy sector. This will lead to a second version of the Outlook fleshing out the perspectives for action by the international logistics sector in greater detail.


  • Roy van den Berg
  • Herman Wagter, Connekt
  • Jordy Speen, TNO
  • Jessica van Rijn, TNO
  • Paul van de Lande, TNO

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