South African freight and logistics company Transnet has launched a new app – the Carbon Calculator app – to enable customers and other users to calculate their carbon emission saving when they elect to move their freight on rail instead of road.
As the owner and operator of the country’s rail network, Transnet has undertaken to increase its market share of freight movement by promoting a modal shift from road to rail and will report annually on the associated carbon emission savings.
South Africa is set to introduce a carbon tax in 2016, in an attempt to account for the environmental cost of greenhouse gas emissions and incentivise the use of cleaner energy sources. The proposed carbon tax rate is currently US$9.3 a metric ton of CO2 equivalent, to be levied by government on the use of fossil fuels.
The advantage of rail is that it is three to four times more energy efficient than road per tonne of cargo transported. In addition, rail offers a clean, safe and cheaper freight logistic solution through improved road safety, reduced road congestion and pollution, and a lower cost of doing business.
The Carbon Calculator App was developed by Transnet in collaboration with the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), based at Wits University.
Its primary purpose is to enable Transnet customers to calculate the carbon emissions benefit of electing to move specific tonnages of cargo in South Africa by rail instead of road.
The calculator applies the relevant rail tractive power (electric or diesel) of each route to calculate the carbon footprint of tonnage.
Users can select a specific origin and destination, the commodity type and its weight to calculate the emission savings when transporting cargo by rail instead of road.