Stable Transportation (Sustainable Logistics)
The logistics environment has entered an age where logistic providers and shipping companies choose the cargo owners and the type of cargo. To achieve stable transportation (sustainable logistics), we must be selected by logistics providers and shipping companies.
The poor working environment, such as long working hours, are considered to be the cause of the serious labor shortages in the logistics industry. The Mitsui Chemicals Group will work with partners in the logistics area to improve the working environment with the aim of securing the logistics workforce and logistics safety. However, while logistics supports social infrastructure, it also emits GHGs during its activities (product transportation, etc.). The Group promotes an efficient transport scheme for reducing GHG emissions in logistics.
An efficient transport scheme not only minimizes the environmental impact, but also leads to save manpower. For this reason, the Group has been implementing initiatives to ensure stable transportation (sustainable logistics) from the viewpoint of comprehensive RC in logistics (consideration to the logistics environment, safety, and quality), including the improvement of the working environment in logistics and the reduction of the environmental impact.
Project to Reduce Driver Standby Time
We are working to improve the work environment for truck drivers and ultimately to reduce the workload for logistics providers, by reducing the standby time for truck drivers while waiting for loading. At the Ichihara, Osaka and Iwakuni-Ohtake Works, the booking system has been introduced for loading work. By making bookings in advance, truck drivers no longer need to queue and stand by from early morning. In view of the 2024 issues*, the Group is currently promoting further improvements to the work environment of truck drivers, including updating the booking system to cover all loading operations.
From April 1, 2024, the grace period for applying the truck driver overtime regulations will end and the limit of 960 hours of overtime per year will apply to truck drivers, so there are concerns about a further shortage of drivers in Japan.
Participation in Sustainable Logistics Initiative
Mitsui Chemicals announced its support for the sustainable logistics initiative proposed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and submitted a declaration of its relevant independent activities. The initiative is aimed at addressing the increasing shortage of drivers, ensuring the stable logistics operations needed for domestic life and industrial activities while also contributing to economic growth. The initiative aims to improve productivity in truck transportation and create greater logistical efficiency while also looking to realize a better labor environment that makes work easier for female drivers and those over the age of 60. The table below describes the initiatives laid out in Mitsui Chemicals’ declaration of its independent activities.
|Initiative||Details and expected outcome|
|Introducing a booking system||The introduction of a booking system for trucks will help cut down on waiting time.|
|Utilizing pallets and more||By making use of pallets and reusable shipping cartons, cargo handling can be sped up.|
|Giving prior notice of shipment information||Conveying information from shippers about inbound and outbound shipments in order to give logistics workers more time to prepare.|
|Utilizing expressways||Mitsui Chemicals will enter into earnest negotiations about how to make use of expressways and who should bear the fees for this.|
|Making a modal shift toward sea and rail||Mitsui Chemicals will strive to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by making active use of sea and rail transport for long-distance shipments.|
|Compliance with the law when selecting logistics companies||Mitsui Chemicals will take into account the compliance status of Logistics companies when selecting.|
|Implementing safety measures for cargo handling work||Providing clear operational instructions, ensuring safe passage, establishing footholds and more will help to ensure more thorough worker safety.|
|Stopping or suspending operations during extreme weather||If extreme weather conditions occur or are expected to occur, Mitsui Chemicals will avoid making unreasonable requests for shipments.|
In fiscal 2017, five companies including Mitsui Chemicals were collectively certified as modal shift businesses by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In this instance, certification recognized the modal shift away from the use of trucks to rail when transporting products between the Company’s operations in the Ichihara area (Chiba Prefecture) to its affiliate DOW-MITSUI POLYCHEMICALS CO., LTD. in the Ohtake area (Hiroshima Prefecture). In August 2017, large containers provided by Japan Freight Railway Company (JR Freight) were introduced in full for container round use* based on the shared logistics system of the Mitsui Chemicals Group. These efforts have assured stability in the mode of transportation, reduced CO2 emissions by 70% and reduced working time for drivers. They were achieved through the partnership between the Mitsui Chemicals Group, JR Freight and our logistics providers.
*Container round use:
Container round use is a concept that returning the container with another cargo after unloading the cargo on the outbound instead of returning “Empty.”
We made greater advances in modal shift for transportation from the Ichihara area to the Chugoku area. Previously, Mitsui Chemicals had used trucks to ship products using 500-kilogram flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs). However, the particular nature of the product did not allow stacking in two tiers. For this reason, a 12-ton truck was able to carry only eight tons of products in a single layer, which is only 67% of the truck's loading capacity. This presented a problem of loading efficiency. Accordingly, Mitsui Chemicals produced - with registered design rights on - a dedicated rack to enable the FIBCs to be stacked in two tiers, along with a special 20-foot high-cube container that has been registered as a utility model. The containerization of the cargo made it possible to improve loading efficiency and succeed in a modal shift to the use of domestic container ships. These efforts led to a reduction in CO2 emissions and a reduction in truck drivers’ workload. We received the Award for Eco-Friendly Logistics Technology at 20th Logistics Environment Award of the Japan Association for Logistics and Transport. We are expanding this practice to other areas of Japan. We have accomplished domestic marine transportation in the Kyushu area since March 2021.
In the modal shift from trucks to ships, we are collaborating more with other private companies in the same industry. Shipments from two companies that had been transported in the past between Chiba and Yamaguchi/Hiroshima by truck are now consolidated and shipped together in a marine container on a regular container ship, achieving a modal shift and round use of the container. Alongside existing modal shift projects, this has contributed to a roughly 40% reduction in annual CO2 emissions and contributed significantly to solving the driver shortage. In addition, side-end opening containers have been adopted for greater productivity. This has resulted in an approximately 80% reduction in cargo handling operations, resulting in a dramatic improvement in work efficiency. These efforts have been recognized with a Special Prize in the 22nd Logistics Environment Award organized by the Japan Association for Logistics and Transport.
Mitsui Chemicals has been designated as an Eco Rail Mark company by the Administration and Screening Committee of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Shared Logistics System for Small-lot Products by Other Companies in the Same Business
In the Keiyo area to the east of Tokyo, we have collected shipments from the production sites of other manufacturers in the vicinity and share the logistics of delivering those products to customers via common transportation routes since 2016. Traditionally, transportation was carried out by delivery companies that took chemicals mixed with loads of general merchandise on set routes via multiple transshipment points. Since we reduced the number of transshipment points by using companies specializing in chemicals, we reduced the number of quality issues, such as damage caused in transit. We could also achieve the improvement in load efficiency which leads the effect of reducing our CO2 emissions. This system started with shipments destined for the Tohoku areas and has expanded to destinations in the Hokuriku and Koshinetsu areas. To boost the shared logistics system, activities will be developed together with the logistics providers and shippers who are participating in the system. There are different logistics collaboration schemes in both goods owners and chemical companies. We are currently working to establish a combined transportation system. This system should be able to replace or supplement some parts of the national transportation networks, through which we plan to create a stable, small-lot transportation scheme for chemicals.
Shared Logistics System
Setting the Targets for GHG Emissions Reduction in Logistics
The Mitsui Chemicals climate change policy aims to "maximize contribution of the value chain" and it has also been working to reduce GHG emissions in the logistics process for product transportation. Starting fiscal 2022, we have set KPIs so that the progress in such an initiative can be monitored to improve it based on quantified information. Upon setting the KPIs, in order to ensure effective management, we set up different targets for domestic logistics, which mainly involves transporting goods by railroad, trucks, vessels, aircraft, etc., and for international logistics, which mainly involves transporting containers by vessels, because the situation is different between them.
In domestic logistics, we have set a target of reducing GHG emissions in domestic logistics by 10% by 2030 compared with the level in fiscal 2020 and a fiscal 2022 target of reducing them by 1% compared with the level in fiscal 2020. Specifically, in addition to continuing the ongoing measures for the above mentioned modal shift, etc., we plan to utilize environmentally conscious transportation vehicles and transportation equipment (including the use of electrical forklift, etc.).
As for international logistics, which involves transportation by container vessels, we will grasp GHG emissions in cooperation from shipping companies* and in such a process take into account GHG emissions to select shipping companies. In this way, we will work to reduce GHG emissions throughout the entire value chain.
Due to its characteristics, however, there is an issue in logistics in that it is difficult to visualize efforts made to reduce GHG emissions through individual initiatives from the GHG emissions and the energy intensity in transportation. This is because these figures are likely to fluctuate depending on the change in product shipment volume and the presence or absence of logistics problems attributable to natural disasters. As such, from fiscal 2022 we plan to count the GHG emission reduction achievable through individual initiatives as GHG emissions reduction contribution and use it to assess the impact of individual initiatives.
*Mitsui Chemicals Partners With Mitsui-Soko Holdings to Calculate CO2 Emissions From International Transport of Products Leveraging digital transformation to visualize CO2 emissions in real time with a new calculation method
(Medium to Long-term)
|GHG emissions reduction rate in logistics in Japan||Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.||GHG emissions reduction rate: 1% per year (compared with FY2021)||-10%
*compared to FY2020
|Data acquisition rate on GHG emissions from marine container transportation* in international logistics||Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.||Establish a method to calculate the GHG emissions from marine container transportation.||100%
*Marine Container transportation:
Transportation projects arranged by the Mitsui Chemicals Logistics Division
GHG emissions in domestic logistics (Mitsui Chemicals)
*Energy Intensity for the Transportation of Products:
Amount of energy consumed (crude oil equivalent in kiloliters) / Volume of product shipments (thousands of tons).