Freight movement to take the electric mobility route in Kochi
A fleet of electric light commercial vehicles (e-LCVs) will transport goods to Ernakulam market awaiting reconstruction as part of Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) infrastructure projects.
This promotion of electric mobility to transport goods is part of EcoLogistics, a low carbon action plan that will be jointly implemented by the Kochi Corporation and ICLEI-South Asia. Besides Kochi, the project is implemented in Shimla and Panaji and in three cities each in Argentina and Colombia. The German-funded project aims to reduce carbon emissions caused by the movement of goods in cities and to move depots and warehouses from cities to well-planned logistics centers in the suburbs.
The action plan to reduce pollution caused by freight transport was prepared on the basis of a study carried out in Kochi. It was commissioned as part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI). The Kochi Corporation has approved the plan for the market, while ICI’s approval is pending. Discussions are underway with manufacturers to select e-LCVs, official sources said.
The study found that 38% of vehicles operated in the city carried freight, of which 42% were light commercial vehicles running on diesel. Their transit through the city roads is maximum from 7 am to 1 pm, and their presence is maximum on the Perumbavoor-Kochi road. The agencies concerned have prepared short, medium and long term plans to reduce carbon emissions from freight transport.
Mayor Anilkumar said the project aims to reduce pollution and create a liveable city. “Improving infrastructure alone will not bring development. Everyone needs to seriously consider increasing carbon emissions and their impact. It has become a major concern of urban local communities, ”he added.
Besides increasing public transport systems to reduce the number of private vehicles, environmentally friendly freight transport is also needed to reduce air and noise pollution. It is in this context that the low carbon action plan was prepared, he said.
Urban freight transport has significant environmental and social impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, poor air quality, noise pollution, road accidents and traffic jams. Globally, urban freight transport accounts for up to 25% of urban vehicles, occupies up to 40% of road space and contributes up to 40% of carbon emissions linked to urban transport. The project to change the situation through local action is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through its International Climate Initiative program. This will help develop effective regulatory, planning and logistical instruments at different levels of government to implement low-carbon freight transport in Kochi, sources said.
The Kochi Company has formed a multi-stakeholder environmentalist working group chaired by the mayor. In addition, the city has developed and approved a city-wide urban freight baseline, which is the first such city-wide assessment carried out in the country with Shimla and Panaji.