CHRobinson LogoEDEN PRAIRIE, MN (April 15, 2015) — With sustainability a topic of significant interest among many in the logistics industry, C.H. Robinson and the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) have combined to develop research aimed at finding ways to better quantify carbon emissions at the Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipment level.

According to the newly completed white paper, “A New Model for Estimating Carbon Emissions from LTL Shipments,” the current methods of calculating carbon emissions can be highly inaccurate, and determining emissions for LTL is more challenging than for other types of transportation. The research examined the issue using actual shipment- and route-level data from TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson.

“LTL is a significant and growing business, worth $35 billion in the United States alone,” said Greg West, vice president North America LTL at C.H. Robinson. “And, as global retailing continues to grow, it will be more and more important to understand the implications of LTL carbon emissions.”

The well-known Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smartway Program are currently used to calculate emissions, but neither can account for the unique characteristics of individual LTL shipments.

“We set out to better quantify emissions from LTL shipments and identify flaws in the current methods used,” said Steve Raetz, director of research and market intelligence at C.H. Robinson.

C.H. Robinson commissioned the research as a MIT CTL master’s thesis project. The project was able to create models that provide a starting point for analyzing existing methodologies and for developing more accurate approaches for calculating carbon emissions at the LTL shipment level. This information may be helpful in shaping future emissions mandates and regulations.

“A green supply chain is often a more efficient one,” the paper states. “Developing a more precise analysis of LTL’s carbon output also makes good business sense. Exploring the true carbon efficiency of LTL is likely to highlight potential areas where performance can be improved, and enable shippers and carriers to make smarter operational and environmental decisions. Reductions in carbon emissions are likely linked to reduced costs of operation.”

The work cited in this white paper provides a platform for future research, and if adopted, these models can help the industry to create a more precise account of LTL carbon emissions.

About C.H. Robinson

Founded in 1905, C.H. Robinson is a global provider of multimodal logistics services, fresh produce sourcing, and information services to 46,000 customers through a network of more than 280 offices and over 11,000 employees around the world. The company works with 66,000 transportation providers worldwide. C.H. Robinson is a Fortune 500 company and had annual revenues of $13.5 billion in 2014.

Through the company and its Foundation, C.H. Robinson and its employees contribute millions of dollars annually to a variety of organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Community Health Charities, American Red Cross, Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, and Global Impact. The company is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and has been publicly traded on the NASDAQ since 1997. For more information about C.H. Robinson, visit  

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