EPA’s SmartWay program helps companies advance supply chain sustainability by measuring, benchmarking, and improving freight transportation efficiency.

Freight Matters to Supply Chain Sustainability

Global trade has a net positive effect on the world economy. However, associated freight transportation produces adverse impacts on the environment and public health.

U.S. freight activity continues to expand significantly since the great recession:

  • The U.S. transportation system moves a daily average of over 51 million tons of freight or about 57 tons of freight per capita.
  • E-Commerce sales increased 20-fold between 2000 and 2019.
  • Experts project that by 2050, global freight transport emissions will surpass those from passenger vehicles.

These trends compel many corporations to seek opportunities to assess and streamline shipping operations so they can use less fuel and generate less pollution.

SmartWay Advances Sustainable Transportation Supply Chains

To address these trends and challenges, EPA developed the SmartWay program.

Launched in 2004, this voluntary public-private program:

  • provides a comprehensive and well-recognized system for tracking, documenting, and sharing information about fuel use and freight emissions across supply chains.
  • helps companies identify and select more efficient freight carriers, transport modes, equipment, and operational strategies to improve supply chain sustainability and lower costs from goods movement.
  • supports global energy security and offsets environmental risk for companies and countries.
  • reduces freight transportation-related emissions by accelerating the use of advanced fuel-saving technologies.
  • is supported by major transportation industry associations, environmental groups, state and local governments, international agencies, and the corporate community.

View the SmartWay timeline and learn about the program’s achievements and key milestones reached since SmartWay’s launch in 2002. Our progress to making freight in the supply chain more sustainable and efficient is due to the vision, commitment, and hard work of SmartWay Partners and Affiliates! Two Decades of Progress: SmartWay Partnership Milestones (PDF)

In a unique collaboration focused on addressing carbon emissions from less than truckload (LTL) freight, SmartWay has developed a new calculator to help its partners estimate emissions from individual LTL shipments. LTL freight has become an increasingly popular form of product delivery, especially as a result of the rapid growth in e-commerce. As growth in e-commerce is expected to continue, it’s likely that LTL freight and interest in LTL as a source of freight emissions will increase too. The new calculator is easy-to-use, requiring only readily available data inputs – such as, weight, origin, and destination zip codes. It is available to SmartWay partners through the programs.

This case study provides background on the collaboration that led to the development of the calculator and how SmartWay partners can use it to complement their SmartWay fleet-wide inventories to assess the environmental performance of their freight operations.

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Learn about SmartWay | US EPA