• Home
  • CSR
  • Highlight 1: Aim to Reduce CO2 by Changing the Distribution Structure through a Modal Shift


Highlight 1
Aim to Reduce CO2 by Changing the Distribution Structure through a Modal Shift

As part of its efforts to address global warming, Lintec is promoting a modal shift*, i.e., changing its freight transport means from trucks to railways and ships. In Highlight 1, we introduce the results of our modal shift activities while reviewing past initiatives based on feedback from the staff in charge.

  • *Modal shift: An initiative to reduce CO2 emissions by changing the mode of transport for passenger or cargo transportation from truck to railway or ship, allowing mass transport.

Reducing CO2 Emissions and Transportation Costs by Changing the Mode of Transport from Truck to RORO Ship*

Recently, modal shift is drawing attention as a way to address global warming, and is expected to improve social problems, including shortages and overwork for truck drivers, and road congestion. Currently, Lintec is implementing modal shift primarily for distribution between its sites. The move was triggered by an initiative of the Fine & Specialty Paper Products Operations, which Hiroshi Fujishima from these operations reviews as follows:

  • *RORO ship: RORO (roll-on, roll-off) ship allows trucks loaded with cargo to drive on and off the ship under their own steam.
Hiroshi Fujishima

Hiroshi Fujishima
General Manager
Fine & Specialty
Paper Products and
Converted Products
Operations Department

"The topic of modal shift was first raised around April 2013. As one of the key items on the agenda of a meeting on infrastructure enhancement for the fine & specialty paper products business, we discussed what means of transport could replace conventional truck transport and cut distribution costs. After deciding to get involved in modal shift as much as possible, we examined various means of transport using both land and sea routes, and finally selected RORO ships".
Six months later, in October 2013, the first RORO ship loaded with products manufactured at the Mishima Plant departed from the Port of Mishima-kawanoe. Since then, 100 tons of products per month (180 tons per month since July 2015) have been delivered to the sales warehouse and customers in the Kanto region via the Port of Chiba. Starting in September 2014, we have been using RORO ships for product transportation (100 tons/month) from the Kumagaya Plant to the Shikoku region.
"To change transportation to RORO ships, we had a hard time negotiating with distribution companies and coordinating our internal shipment and receipt systems", says Fujishima. "Consequently, we reduced CO2 emissions from transportation as well as transportation costs. We have realized great benefits from introducing modal shift".

Securing goods in the cargo area of the truck to prevent them from collapsing
Securing the truck on the ship

Securing goods in the cargo area of the truck to prevent them from collapsing (left) and securing the truck on the ship (right)

Identifying Routes for Modal Shift by Checking the Distribution Data for Each Site

Akio Shimonabe

Akio Shimonabe
General Manager
Cost Innovation Office

The initiative drew the attention of the Cost Innovation Office, headed by Akio Shimonabe.
"The Cost Innovation Office had taken various measures to reduce transportation costs group-wide", says Shimonabe. "However, in order to comply with the Act on the Rational Use of Energy and respond to the future decline in the population of truck drivers, we had to review our distribution methods drastically. The initiative at the Fine & Specialty Paper Products Operations was precisely an example of the structural reform of distribution we envisaged".
In April 2014, led by the Sapporo Branch, we switched truck transport to RORO ship transport for part of the products shipped from the Tatsuno Plant to Sapporo. Concurrently, we collected distribution data from our sites across Japan to investigate the transportation distance and cost for each shipment. Based on an accurate understanding of the group-wide flow of goods, we identified the transportation routes where we should implement modal shift.
"After discussions based on the survey results, we decided to apply modal shift to routes of 500 km or longer", explains Shimonabe. "We found that, when the transportation distance is over 500 km, we can have the benefits of modal shift and reduce CO2 emissions".

Switching to Railway Transport to Match the Transportation Route Conditions

Yoshihiro Tobise

Yoshihiro Tobise
Assistant General Manager
Cost Innovation Department

Besides the shift from trucks to RORO ships, Lintec has implemented a modal shift to railway transport. In June 2015, the Sapporo Branch switched from truck to railway for part of the route for transporting products from one of its contractors in Shizuoka Prefecture. Yoshihiro Tobise of the Cost Innovation Department was in charge of the shift.
"The volume of goods transported on the route was not large enough to use a RORO ship, and we had sea route constraints. So we selected railway transport", relates Tobise. "There are multiple transportation methods for modal shift. It is crucial to choose the best way depending on the transportation route and its conditions".
Following the Shizuoka-Sapporo route, truck transport was changed to railway transport for part of the products and goods in process transported from the Tatsuno Plant in Hyogo Prefecture to Tokyo Lintec Kako, Inc. in Saitama Prefecture. In that case, we negotiated with railway companies to use railway containers with a 13-ton loading capacity (internal volume of 48m3), which is equivalent to a large truck.
"Modal shift is a national commitment", adds Tobise. "The railway container we are using for the route was developed as part of the railway industry's modal shift measures, and met our needs".

Improved transportation efficiency with the use of railway containers with a loading capacity equivalent to a large truck

Launching Modal Shift Group-Wide to Build a Distribution Structure with Low Environmental Impact

Kazuhito Ishikura

Kazuhito Ishikura
Assistant General Manager
Environment and Safety Department

Kazuhito Ishikura of the Environmental Safety Department explains the advantages of modal shift as an environmental activity:
"The Environmental Safety Department has been promoting environmental activities primarily at plants. In order to cut more CO2 emissions from the production process, investment, such as facility improvement, is often required. Modal shift can reduce both CO2 and transportation costs, and therefore is effective as a corporate environmental activity. Modal shift is also important in terms of playing a role in the socially required activity to reduce CO2 emissions across the supply chain".
Triggered by the Fine & Specialty Paper Products Operations, modal shift is being expanded group-wide by the Cost Innovation Office. We will use railway and ship transport on various transportation routes to build a distribution system with lower environmental impact.