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We drive sustainability

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Sustainability – thinking about tomorrow, today

For us, sustainability is one of the most important factors for economic stability and long-term growth. This is why the careful handling of resources is one of the central pillars in our company philosophy.

As an internationally-operating logistics and family business, we take our social responsibility very seriously; this not only applies to our employees, but also to our partners, our customers and the environment – this is why we are committed to fair treatment, both of each other, and as regards ecological procurement.

We are of the opinion that sustainable logistics and economic activity are not mutually exclusive. Quite the contrary. Thanks to a continuous improvement process, we are in the position of being able to ensure the resource-saving realisation of our services – to achieve this, we have firmly established green thinking in our company philosophy.

We want to offer our customers the most sustainable transport and supply chain possible. To achieve this, we have launched numerous projects which not only reduce the company’s global emissions, but also improve our energy record. In addition to sustainable logistics properties, we always look to alternative drive technologies and multimodal logistics solutions. We also support innovation and research programmes.

Social responsibility for humanity and the environment

How we behave as a company affects society. This is why we place particular importance on environmental-awareness and social responsibility. Our motto is ‘Actions speak louder than words’. Since 2015, we have been subjected to an annual assessment by EcoVadis; this independent agency evaluates the activities of companies in the area of corporate social responsibility, in accordance with international standards. The rating platform has already awarded us Silver Status several times in succession – in fact, we number among the most successful 10 percent in a sector comparison.

There are four themed areas in the EcoVadis evaluation; environment, labour and human rights, ethics, as well as sustainable procurement. The consistently good results in the ranking confirm that our activities, as well as the transparency we create for our partners and customers, are as we wish and intend them to be. In addition, we use the scorecard to identify further improvement opportunities. In this way, we can make our contribution to society and greener logistics.

News

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Corporate NewsPort LogisticsSustainability & Green LogisticsInnovation

Rhenus Nominated for Heavy Lift Award

Rhenus in Rotterdam has been recognised for its commitment to promoting sustainable technologies and nominated for this year's Heavy Lift Award in the category of Sustainability. The prize will be awarded virtually on 7 October 2020. The latest Rhenus project at the Rotterdam site is the purchase of the first fully electric mobile harbour crane in the Netherlands.
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Corporate NewsShip TransportSustainability & Green Logistics

Rhenus-Arkon-Shipinvest develops ecological short sea fleet and orders four environmentally-friendly vessels

The Rhenus-Arkon-Shipinvest shipping company has started to set up its own ecological short sea fleet. It has placed orders for the first four environmentally-friendly vessels known as ‘Hanse Eco Short Sea Coasters’. Construction work is expected to start in February 2020 and the ships are due to be delivered during the second half of 2021. The vessels are based on the latest developments related to environmental protection, digitalisation and design.
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Corporate NewsAir FreightSustainability & Green Logistics

RHEGREEN: Rhenus Logistics Launches First Air Freight CO2 Reduction Programme

Rhenus Logistics Air & Ocean introduces the first worldwide air freight carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction programme in the world. RHEGREEN, a free-of-charge service, offers the opportunity to choose a ‘greener’ aircraft for the shipment of cargo by air freight.
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Corporate NewsSustainability & Green Logistics

Rhenus opens new buildings at Holzwickede

The Rhenus Group officially opened two new buildings, each with four storeys, at its corporate headquarters in Holzwickede on 18 January. Those attending the opening ceremony included the town’s mayor, Ulrike Drossel, representatives of the main contractor, Depenbrock, officials from the planning teams involved and the business development department in the District of Unna as well as Rhenus Board Member, Egbert Bernsmeister.
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Environmentally-aware information logistics

Advancing digitalisation is going to radically change professional life in the future. Ever more activities will have to become viable for mobile working. Our office systems division is therefore developing innovative solutions for digital and intelligent document management.

As our services encompass the entire information cycle in the company, we are able to make it more sustainable in many ways. In so doing, we ensure an ecological way of working and constantly optimise our own processes. Particularly important to us is the careful use of resources and responsible disposal concepts. Furthermore, we support research projects to make our services more sustainable.

Intelligent container management

Together with the Fraunhofer-Institut für Materialfluss und Logistik IML (Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics), we have developed containers for document destruction which report their fill-level automatically via special sensors. In this way, we can avoid empty runs.

Upcycling: Make new, from old

We remarket used furniture and discarded IT-hardware. We professionally recondition the office equipment, resell it and thus give it a second lease of useful life.

Certified energy management

In order to optimise our processes, we have implemented an energy management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001. In addition to the documentation and reduction in energy consumption, the concept includes vehicle planning, site equipment, modern technology and many other sustainable aspects.

More home delivery, less emissions

E-commerce is booming! Ever more end-consumers are ordering products via the internet these days – from small electrical appliances to heavy furniture. The goods should preferably be transported as quickly as possible and straight to the customers’ own front-doors. With each delivery, traffic congestion in the inner cities and residential areas increases further.

 

As an innovative company, we therefore search for solutions for smart and environmentally-friendly inner-city logistics. To this end, we look to alternative drive technologies and make ourselves available to well-known companies as collaborative partners for testing prototypes.

Low-emission inner-city logistics

Since 2018, we have been using a CNG fleet to supply the inner-city areas of the metropolises of Berlin and Hannover. Ten natural-gas-powered vehicles are in operation which are used when needed and as a supplement to the diesel vehicles.

Prototypes for the end-consumer delivery

We collaborate with Daimler/Mercedes Benz and test numerous fully-electric and hybrid vehicles in the end-consumer delivery. Thus, we are actively supporting the traffic transition and gaining valuable experience in the area of e-mobility, too.

Port logistics of the future

Maritime and inland waterway transportation is an important component of trimodal transport solutions. Ports play an important role as central transhipment points. We are therefore developing intelligent solutions to not just make the logistics processes in our port terminals fit for the future, but also to reduce our emissions.

This includes supplying our buildings and outdoor facilities with green electricity for which we have, inter alia, our own photovoltaic systems. However, we are also working on the energy-efficient optimisation of goods handling. We use modern crane systems and vehicles with an electric drive for this purpose.

Electrification at the Port of Rotterdam

At the port of Rotterdam, (Netherlands) we use e-mobility and an ecologically-efficient port crane. This not only reduces climate-relevant emissions, but also lowers the operating costs and noise in the deep-water terminal in Maavslakte.

Renewable energy for free

In the Rhine harbour in Kleinhühningen (Basel), we boast an over 12,000 square metre solar roof. This produces over one million kilowatt hours of energy per year which is equivalent to the energy consumption of over 500 households – and this for free!

Sustainable terminal construction

The container terminal in Emmelsum numbers among our most sustainable port facilities. In addition to a port crane, which feeds its braking energy back into the power-grid, hybrid reach-stackers are being used. The entire area is lit by LEDs.

Supporting the traffic transition

The movement of people is one of the biggest sources of emissions. Without alternative drive technologies, no ecological mobility transition will be possible. As a logistics partner to the automotive industry, we therefore feel a special responsibility and are focusing specifically on e-mobility in the automotive sector.

Furthermore, as a research and production partner, we are committed to the development of battery-driven vehicles, in order to make logistics more sustainable in the long-term.

Climate protection with batteries and LEDs

In automotive logistics, we rely on electrical pool vehicles and industrial trucks. In addition, many sites have efficient LED-lighting and energy-saving heating systems which, via sensors, adapt to the respective time of day and season.

Home-grown e-mobility

We developed the production-line for an electric vehicle of the Belgian manufacturer Addax and, up until 2018, we also took over the complete assembly thereof. The compact vehicle had been especially developed for warehouse logistics and last-mile delivery.

Energy-efficient warehouse logistics

Energy-supply is one of the biggest sources of emissions and costs for our properties. In order to reduce their consumption, we consider those sustainability criteria, which optimise the energy balance of our building, as early on as during the construction of our logistics centres. 

Sustainable buildings are but one side of the coin, and this is why we are working towards consistently improving our warehouse logistics services. In joint projects with our partners and customers, we are developing innovative storage solutions.

Sustainable construction: more energy efficiency

Our Tilburg (Netherlands) logistics centre is one of the most sustainable logistics centres worldwide – it was, in fact, nominated for the BREEAM Award in 2019. The solar installation, the rain-water toilet flush and highly-insulated facades provide, inter alia, optimum energy-efficiency.

Smart energy filling-stations

At many sites, we have installed efficient energy filling-stations for charging our battery-powered vehicles. Optimised charging-cycles prolong battery life, leading to a reduction in the ratio of replacement batteries of up to 50 percent.

For more ‘E’ on the roads

As a transport service provider, we find ourselves in a dilemma; on the one hand, the many trucks on the roads are responsible for a significant share of the CO2 emissions. On the other hand, logistics services are indispensably relevant to the system of modern society.

However, in order to still make our contribution to climate protection, we are focusing on e-mobility in many areas. As the possibilities are still limited, particularly in long-distance transport, we support various research projects which could help to overcome this hurdle more quickly.

Systematic ecological driving style

We have introduced eco-drive training for our drivers whereby they learn how to drive as environmentally-sustainably and economically as possible. A specially appointed driving instructor imparts theoretical and practical knowledge.

E-mobility weighing tons

We are using the first e-fleet in the 40-ton truck segment in the whole of Germany. Since spring 2019, our six heavy electric trucks have been in use every day in order to transport container traffic between customers and inland terminals.

On the road, on the eHighway

We have been testing a Scania overhead-line hybrid truck on the A5 in Hesse as part of the ELISA eHighway field trial. In this way, we want to help advance electrified road freight traffic. A total of five of these vehicles are commuting back and forth several times a day on the test-track.

CO2 calculation for each shipment

We use EcoTransIT software to calculate the energy consumption and emission data of our transport chains. Using the information provided creates transparency and therefore forms the basis for CO2 reduction measures.

More environmentally-friendly take-offs

Time really is of the essence sometimes. For time-critical goods, such as medicines or perishables, the plane is the favoured means of transport. Nevertheless, it is still possible to reduce pollutant emissions in air freight. We prove this day by day with the RHEGREEN programme.

On the ground, too, we are continuously reducing the CO2 emissions of our logistics services, for example, by using e-mobility and ecological packing materials.

E-mobility on the apron

We exclusively use e-vehicles for the handling/clearance at Flughafen (Airport) Zürich. 22 freight-haulers, 16 armoured haulers for the securities service, as well as three trucks for internal transport, are in use. In this way, we save several hundred tons of CO2 every year.

More environmentally-friendly take-offs

Time really is of the essence sometimes. For time-critical goods, such as medicines or perishables, the plane is the favoured means of transport. Nevertheless, it is still possible to reduce pollutant emissions in air freight. We prove this day by day with the RHEGREEN programme.

Air freight on cardboard at Zürich Airport

We use cardboard runners instead of wood in the construction of air freight pallets (ULDs). The moisture-resistant material retains its shape even when subjected to heavy loads, is lighter and up to 100 percent recycled. It can also either be reused or disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.

Sustainable inland waterway transportation

In comparison with a 40-ton truck, inland waterway vessels only need about one-third of the energy. These floating giants actually have advantages over transportation by rail, too. Nevertheless, their air pollutant balance could be improved, as ship engines are very durable and many older models emit too many pollutants.

What does help is a modernisation of the fleet and this is why we invest in the development and building of sustainable types of ship. In the port area, too, we try to reduce CO2 emissions in the handling of goods and to shift transportation from road to water.

Ecological short-sea fleet

Our Hanse-Eco-ships ships have a hybrid engine with a bio-catalyst and exhaust after-treatment. As a result, their emissions of carbon dioxide and particulate matter, as well as their fuel consumption, are lower than that of purely diesel-powered ships.

Streamlined efficiency

The Rhenus Duisburg is equipped with a modern father-son engine. The ship’s small and large engine take over the propulsion depending on the power requirements. Thanks to the streamlined stern, the propeller powers the thrust into the water almost without loss, thus reducing fuel consumption.

Port logistics on the water

We use a pusher-barge for internal traffic in the Hamburg port area. When worked out mathematically, this actually replaces around 60 truck round-trips per trip. This leads to additional transport volumes being shifted from road to water, and thus CO2 emissions being reduced.

Combined sustainability

The constantly growing volume of traffic means that motorways are reaching their limits, in terms of capacity, in many places. Road freight traffic also plays a major role in air pollution. We have therefore decided to try and better interlink the advantages of the different modes of transport – after all, the more shipments we can shift from road to rail or water, the more we can relieve the environment.

Thanks to our own container terminals, extensive hinterland logistic networks and our years of experience in trimodal transport, we can save CO2 emissions along the entire transport chain. Our customers throughout Europe benefit from reliable and sustainable logistics solutions.

Calculated sustainability

Rhenus developed the IMTIS software for the transportation calculations in combined container traffic. The program enables the comparison of various modes of transport, provides information on the environmental compatibility, including the expected CO2 emissions, and displays transportation prices.

Good things come in threes

We rely on trimodal carrier solutions. Thanks to the efficient combination of the respective advantages of shipping, rail and road transportation, we are able to not just reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50 percent, but also to create cost-effective logistics solutions for its customers.

We are accountable to you

As a family company, a trusting collaboration with our customers and partners is particularly important to us. This goes hand-in-hand with transparency towards the public. We are therefore pleased to provide you with some answers to frequently asked questions in the following:

How does Rhenus define sustainability?

We define sustainability as the careful use of resources designed for natural regeneration. Thus, sustainability is one of the most important factors for economic stability and long-term growth. We understand resources to include both internal (human, social and financial capital), and external production factors (goods, raw materials), hence we respect and ensure compliance with social and ethical standards (labour and human rights), and are committed to environmentally-aware procurement. This is confirmed by the annual certification by the EcoVadis rating platform.

What significance does sustainability have for Rhenus?

As an internationally-active logistics and family business, we are well aware of our social responsibility. The topic of sustainability is, therefore, a central pillar of our company’s philosophy. Our motto is ‘Actions speak louder than words’; this is why we do not stipulate rigid concepts, but deliberately focus on a flexible approach which also facilitates the implementation of business-specific initiatives. Innovative projects in our individual units can thus be implemented quickly and flexibly and generate immediate added value. We present information on the subject of sustainability in such a way that every employee can access it. In so doing, we ensure that green thinking is firmly established throughout the entire company. In addition, we pursue a continuous improvement process in order to consistently advance the resource-saving realisation of our services. Our intention is to develop efficient and ecologically-sensible logistics solutions for our customers and partners.  

What is the sustainability strategy of Rhenus?

Our company is organised in a decentralised manner and there are very different requirements in each of the 18 business units in which we operate. We therefore do not dictate the strategic orientation strictly from above, but deliberately allow the individual units room to manoeuver; this also applies to the issue of sustainability. Here, we rely on a broadly-diversified approach with a variety of solutions.  We leave the realisation of the sustainability concepts to our respective units. However, what we all do have in common is that we are all dedicated to green thinking.

What specific targets does Rhenus aim to achieve?

We are of the opinion that sustainable logistics and economic activity are not mutually exclusive. Quite the contrary, in fact. In the long-term, we want to combine the effects of the individual projects in the various business areas, so as to be able to offer our customers the most sustainable transport and supply chain possible. For this reason, we have launched numerous projects which reduce the company’s global emissions and improve its energy record. For example, we take care to ensure that sustainable construction and innovative technologies are used in our logistics properties. In addition, we use alternative drive technologies for the various modes of transport and also develop multimodal logistics solutions. 

Why does Rhenus place such great importance on the issue of sustainability?

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges faced by modern society. As an international, multimodal transport and logistics service provider, we feel we have a particular responsibility. We want to do justice to this, together with our customers and partners, and are therefore very committed to sustainable and environmentally-aware logistics.

Why does Rhenus support so many different projects?

We are active in 18 different business units, each of which present their own individual and special challenges. We encounter these demands with a decentralised orientation of the company which enables our individual units to make largely independent decisions. The topic of sustainability is also multifaceted and this is why we decided to search for a variety of solutions.

What are the future plans of Rhenus in respect of sustainability?

We will permanently give the issue of sustainability high priority and will continually examine what contribution we can make to green logistics. To this end, we constantly monitor which technological and structural innovations are available. An exchange of information about this takes place on all levels, and between all of our units. From this, we derive more projects which contribute to the careful use of natural resources. In order to be able to put new approaches into practice, we not only provide financial and personnel resources for research projects, but also for the further development of sustainability in the operative business.

How does Rhenus try to make its operative business more sustainable?

As an international logistics company, we find ourselves in a dichotomy. On the one hand, the transport sector is largely responsible for the consumption of natural resources and the emission of climate-damaging gases. On the other hand, logistics services are absolutely systematically-relevant for modern society. However, we firmly believe that economic efficiency and sustainable logistics are not mutually exclusive and we therefore emphatically pursue the goals of reducing our own CO2 emissions and of creating transparent transport and storage solutions for our customers. To this end, we opt, wherever possible, for renewable energies, alternative drive technologies and multimodal transport solutions.

Does Rhenus support external research projects or collaborations?

Collaboration with research institutions and involvement in scientific projects are important elements of our company strategy. One of the objectives is to make the global supply chain more sustainable. To achieve this, we are on the look-out for green ideas and new technologies, together with partners and customers, which will help the company progress further in this respect. The versatile fields of activity and the financial resources available mean that we are able to be extensively involved in a wide range of activities in this area. 

How do Rhenus customers benefit from these measures?

We want to reduce the CO2 emissions derived from our operations and to make global supply chains more sustainable. However, this can only be achieved together with our partners and customers. Wherever possible, we pass on the achieved positive effects to our customers. In addition, we show them at which points in their supply chain they can also positively contribute to sustainability.

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