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Transport of raw materials 

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Transport by ship or train causes less emissions of CO2, NOx, SOx and dust than transport by truck; it also helps to reduce road congestion.

 

 

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Fig.16. Breakdown of raw materials transport.
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In 2017, 73% of all raw materials (sand, sodium carbonate and fuel) were transported by ship or train, taking 51,100 trucks off the road. 

 

This represents a distance of about 613 km if the trucks were lined up one behind the other!

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Sand and sodium carbonate take the train to Boussois

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Boussois Float Plant (France) used to be supplied with sand via the Maubeuge station, located 8 km away. In 2014, the plant renovated a disused railway line and installed an automatic unloading system allowing to use trains in the heart of the plant site and to reduce local truck traffic. From then, the use of the railway has constantly been increased. 

 

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In this way in 2017, Boussois was supplied with around 66,000 tonnes of sand and 52,000 tonnes of sodium carbonate. This represents an avoidance of a yearly traffic of a bit more than 3,900 trucks!

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Video (in French) about the Boussois project

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Transport of glass products 

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For the transport of our glass and our finished glass products, we still rely mainly on road transport because our plants customers are scattered so widely over many countries. Nevertheless various logistic efforts and innovation are constantly made to increase alternative options and reduce the environmental impact of our transport.

 

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The major roads we are working on for reducing the environmental impacts of our products logistic are the following:

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Increase of glass load transported per truck

To increase the weight of glass per shipment, our inloaders were progressively replaced from 2011 to 2014 by lighter inloader trucks from our logistic partner (total switch in Western & Central Europe), allowing to load 20% glass extra compared to the conventional inloaders, while maintaining the overall weight (truck + glass) constant.

More recently this 2018 year, a similar action has been started to replace soft-sided trucks to a lighter version.

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Reduction of distances transported

AGC is invested in the reduction of the distances transported. This is done via an optimization of the sourcing and the planning of the supply chain, from our plants towards our customers, or between our internal manufacturing processes. Those actions are integrated in a general industrial rationalization plan. 

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The multimodal transport to reduce the road transport 

Multimodal transport involves transporting goods under a single contract but combining at least two different transport modes. For instance, it can be a combination of road and/or rail and/or waterway (by sea or inland waterway). The idea behind is to cover shortest feasible distance by road and the majority of the journey by rail and/or waterway. This allows to avoid trucks on the road and traffic congestion, and also it represents a large reduction in CO2 emissions.

AGC Glass Europe started to use the multimodal transport using a railway network between Belgium and Italy in 2009. AGC and Lannutti Group, the European leader in logistics management for raw glass, signed an agreement setting up Green Line Advanced Systems and Services, a joint venture for combined road-rail-waterway transport of glass throughout Europe. From then, Green Line has been expanded with the objective to cover Europe (Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, Finland, Turkey, …).

Green Line is the European leader for transport of glass using the road-rail-waterway transport. 

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In 2017, about 127,400 tonnes of finished glass products were transported by multimodal road/rail, taking about 6,370 trucks per year off the road.

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Innovating transport materials

We developed and continue to develop innovative transport materials together with our logistic partners, that have various benefits on the environment: 

Promoting the flexible trailer: The transloader is a flexible trailer, allowing to either load large-dimension glass (PLF glass) or various types of goods. This equipment allows to reduce the empty return trips. Green Line invested in this logistic solution. 

Sea freight efficiency: AGC Glass Europe develops sea freight cargo logistic solutions, using a chartered multipurpose vessel (break-bulk) for glass at long distance shipping (DLF or large-dimension glass). This mode allows to ship up to 3.500 tonnes of glass at once.

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Glasstainer, the foldable container: Glasstainer is a 20 feet container patented by AGC Glass Europe to transport the large-dimension glass by sea. Glasstainer is foldable, which allow to optimize the return of empty containers.  

Alternative energy for trucks: In addition to the actions here above, we are currently studying disruptive solutions with alternative low-CO2 energy, in collaboration with our logistic partner. 

 

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