Maersk is the largest ocean freight company in the world with 738 ships in its fleet — nearly 100 more than the next largest carrier. But Maersk doesn’t just drop all those containers off at ports and sail away. It is also heavily involved in distributing them to freight terminals nearby or across the country. It has formed a new partnership with Swedish startup Einride to add 300 electric trucks to its distribution fleet.
Today, once those containers are off-loaded from ships, they are moved to their final destination by diesel-powered Class 8 heavy trucks. While the diesel engine is the workhorse of the freight industry, it is also the source of massive amounts of air pollution in and around seaports. The air along the highways that connect the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to freight terminals inland is so thick with crud from the exhaust pipes of all those diesels, it is almost unbreathabale.
Einride is a Swedish company founded in 2016 that offers digital management solutions for freight haulers and is developing autonomous battery-powered vehicles that can shuttle containers around inside freight terminals. It has signed a 5-year partnership agreement with Maersk to put 300 battery-electric Class 8 trucks into service in America. The trucks will be delivered between 2023 and 2025 and will be used by Performance Team — its North American warehousing, distribution, and transportation business. The trucks will use Einride’s digital road freight operating system and charging solutions.
“Our customers are looking for tangible actions on sustainable supply chains — not just conceptual. Today’s order is an important step in building our end-to-end, landside decarbonization foundation while also addressing customers inland transportation pain points. Maersk has a comprehensive decarbonization plan in motion for our Ocean activities which represent 93% of all company-related emissions. These order marks the expansion of our ambitions to cover all services across transport modes,” says Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc. His company’s long term goal in North America is to move toward a fully electric trucking fleet that offers customers an environmentally friendly alternative for short haul trucking.
The first of the trucks for use by the Maersk-Einride partnership will Class 8 8TT Gen 3 tractors manufactured by BYD at its factory in Southern California. Other truck truck manufacturers will also provide electric trucks that incorporate Einride technology, according to Electrive. This will mark the first large scale use of Einride’s digital road freight operating system, which centralizes decision making today make freight distribution more efficient. Maersk invested in Einride in 2021.
“This is one of the biggest deals ever made to make sustainable transportation, and it comes at a critical time. Not only is the road freight industry responsible for close to 8% of all global CO2 emissions — a number that will continue to grow if cost effective change is not made today — but you also have a world that is more aware than ever before about the urgent need to shift to electric. I admire Maersk for its boldness in leading the way — for standing out in its commitments as a shipper to tangibly make the transition happen,” says Robert Falck, CEO of Einride.
According to Freightwaves, Maersk has been ramping up its overall transportation offerings and moving away from serving only maritime customers to build an end-to-end transportation network. In 2021, the company acquired several entities, including the acquisition of logistics provider Performance Team and its 58 US facilities last April, and the recent purchase of Pilot Freight and technology provider Visible SCM.
The electric trucks will be used in Maersk’s North American warehousing, distribution, and transport business in selected US cities. Over the 5-year contract, more than one million freight hauling events will be completed using the zero emissions trucks, says Electric. Maersk will also have access to 150 charging stations and connectivity services linked to Einride’s Saga operating system.
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