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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 2018, 71% of all raw materials (sand, sodium carbonate and fuel) were transported by ship or train, taking 56,800 trucks off the road. 

 

This represents a distance of about 682 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, making it possible to use trains in the heart of the site and to reduce local truck traffic. Since then the use of the railway has constantly increased.

 

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In this way in 2018, Boussois was supplied with around 173,000 tonnes of sand and 9,000 tonnes of sodium carbonate. This represents an avoidance of a yearly traffic of a bit more than 6,000 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 being made to increase alternative options and to reduce the environmental impact of our transport.

 

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The main options we are working on to reduce the environmental impact of our product logistics are as follows:

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Increase the weight of glass 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 logistics partner (total switch in Western & Central Europe), making it possible to load 20% more glass compared with the conventional inloaders, while maintaining the overall weight (truck + glass).

More recently, in 2018, a similar initiative has been started to replace soft-sided trucks by a lighter version.

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Reduce the distances transported

AGC is committed to reducing the distances transported. This is done by optimising the sourcing and the planning of the supply chain, from our plants to our customers, or between our internal manufacturing processes. These initiatives form part of a general industrial rationalisation plan.

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Use multimodal transport to reduce 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 water (by sea or inland waterway). The idea is to cover the shortest feasible distance by road and to make the majority of the journey by rail and/or waterway. This makes it possible to avoid trucks on the road and to reduce traffic congestion, and also represents a large reduction in CO2 emissions.

AGC Glass Europe started to use multimodal transport with 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. Since then, Green Line has expanded with the objective to cover Europe (Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, Finland, Turkey, etc.).

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

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In 2018, about 78,960 tonnes of finished glass products were transported by multimodal road/rail, taking about 3,950 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 load either large-dimension glass (PLF glass) or various other types of goods. This equipment makes it possible to reduce the number of empty return trips. Green Line has invested in this logistics solution.

Sea freight efficiency: AGC Glass Europe develops sea freight cargo logistic solutions, using a chartered multipurpose vessel (break-bulk) for long-distance shipping of large-dimension glass. This mode makes it possible to ship up to 3,500 tonnes of glass at once.

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Glasstainer, the foldable container: Glasstainer is a 20-foot container patented by AGC Glass Europe for transporting large-dimension glass by sea. Glasstainer is foldable, which permits the return of empty containers.

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

 

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