Increase in online shopping bringing sustainability challenges, says UPS


Global logistics firm UPS has said that the increasing rise of online shopping is making logistics operations more challenging in terms of sustainability.

This is because it is having to transport more, lower density packages than it would when moving products to bricks and mortar shops.


In its recently published 2014 Sustainability Report, UPS said: “As e-commerce changes business models and supply chains around the world, it’s also creating new sustainability challenges.

“That’s because e-commerce shipments – business-to-consumer –  are typically lower density (fewer packages per delivery stop and more miles driven per package), compared with business-to-business deliveries.

“This, coupled with higher volumes of residential deliveries, means carriers are driving more miles and using more fuel to deliver fewer goods.”

With online sales expected to represent 50% of its US shipping volume by 2019, UPS is looking to combat this negative impact on sustainability by optimising its operations including more efficient route planning.

It is also looking at final mile solutions where another company, such as an incumbent postal service will deliver the package often by foot, rather than a UPS vehicle.

UPS is also encouraging smarter use of packaging to create less waste, use less fuel and allow more vehicle trips.

In particular, its Packsize On Demand Packaging enables companies to produce a right-sized box for any item.

This solution eliminates the need to store cardboard boxes by placing a corrugated converting machine and corrugated materials directly in a distribution facility.