FERCAM: green choices for zero-emission logistics

Dino Menichetti, Regional Manager, explains the “Emission-free Delivery” project, a program for an eco-sustainable development of national distribution services. A first pilot was launched in Rome, also based on collaboration with the municipal administration for the Urban Sustainable Mobility Plan (PUMS). Within two years, all FERCAM deliveries in the Capital’s “Green Zone” will be managed with eco-sustainable vehicles.
At FERCAM, a transport and logistics company whose network extends throughout Europe and the world, we know that our choices can have significant consequences in terms of sustainability. In the new FERCAM 2025 Strategy, attention to the environment is in fact one of the points of great centrality, transversal to all business areas and the basis for various development projects.

The project to reach zero emissions in the "Green Zone within two years

For our goods distribution services, and in particular with regard to last mile deliveries, we have launched at national level the "Emission-free Delivery" project, which aims at an overall improvement of the fleet, with the goal of substantially reducing the environmental impact of our activities. Rome is the city where we started the project pilot and we aim to carry out 100% of the distribution activities within the "Green Zone" with environmentally friendly vehicles within 2 years, well in advance of the targets set at the community level.
This 150 square km area, within the Grande Raccordo Anulare, covers much of Rome’s surface and is the largest of its kind in Italy. We might note that the surface of the entire municipal area of ​​Milan is 182 square km, compared to 1,285 in Rome. The area delimits the territory within which there are limitations to vehicular traffic, when pollution levels exceed thresholds established by the legislation. In fact, in this zone, circulation with alternate number plates and total blocking of vehicular circulation can be periodically enforced.

Environmentally friendly innovations in FERCAM Rome: our green vehicles

The flagship of our Roman fleet is the new zero-emission electric van, the eTGE model by MAN, which has been in operation since last December. It is equipped with an innovative electric motor that guarantees energy efficiency and low wear, very important characteristics for journeys with frequent intermediate stops or in the intense traffic of the city centre. Noise emissions are also significantly reduced, with positive effects on the well-being of our fellow citizens. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg: five 35-quintals vans converted to LPG are already in service for the Branch and another two electric vans plus 16 methane-fueled 70-quintals tractors will arrive shortly.

The latter were designed by FERCAM specifically for distribution within cities. They will have smaller dimensions than regular vehicles of the same category, which could not circulate in the narrow streets of the historical centre. They will gradually replace the classic 35-quintal vans and, having a much higher capacity in terms of carrying capacity, they will allow us to reduce the number of circulating vehicles. This will have a doubly beneficial effect: reduced emissions thanks to methane fuelling, less polluting than diesel, and less traffic on the city roads.

All the new eco-friendly vehicles will be equipped with a smart display produced by Truckscreenia, a start-up financed by public funds from the Province of Bolzano and developed at NOI Techpark. The young company operates in the smart mobility sector and has developed a georeferenced digital communication system: using a smart screen integrated into a device, fixed to the rear of the vehicles, Truckscreenia System can provide dynamic and targeted information, in real time and on the road, for advertising, road safety and public utility.

Finally, for the mobility of employees in urban areas, we have equipped ourselves with electric Smarts. These environmentally friendly vehicles will allow us to carry out activities within the historic centre, without restrictions and easing parking problems thanks to their small size. They will be particularly useful to our Fine Art team, who often find themselves carrying out inspections at museums and archaeological sites in the restricted traffic areas of Rome.

Efficiency of the entire plant, from energy to waste management and international traction

The entirety of FERCAM Rome also underwent a process of modernization, with the implementation of measures that allow excellent optimization of consumption. Regarding the offices and warehouse, we installed a new LED lighting system with motion sensors; we applied solar films to the windows and we installed fast charging columns for electric vehicles. They will soon be self-powered, thanks to the double 150kWp photovoltaic system that we are currently installing. This allows us to estimate that the energy needs of the branch will be 90-95% satisfied by solar energy.

All materials used for our activities, from cartons for packaging, pallets, to the wooden crates for artwork transport, are introduced into a cycle that does not involve disposal, but recycling or reuse, thanks to agreements made with companies such as Mediaservice Recycling. Our wood is used for the production of chipboard panels, thanks to the collaboration with Saviola Group, leader in the circular economy sector for years and a specialist in recycling processes.

Lastly, FERCAM Headquarters recently introduced the first LNG-powered trucks, intended for LTL loads and groupage, namely for distribution along 5 long-haul lines. Therefore, not only last mile deliveries in the city, but tractions from Rome towards other Italian Branches and to the European markets are now carried out with low-emission vehicles. And emissions will be further reduced as soon as natural gas produced from renewable sources becomes available: FERCAM is actively promoting this, with the participation in the company Biogas Wipptal.

The key to success is building a collaborative network

We are working together with the municipal administration of Rome, participating in a permanent technical table called Living Lab Logistics, set up by the Municipality and coordinated by TRELAB, a Roma Tre University laboratory. The Lab deals with promoting public-private dialogue on logistics, while at the same time encouraging the introduction of measures and experiments for the application of the SUMP (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan).

FERCAM Rome has gladly welcomed this opportunity for collaboration, with the Municipality of Rome and with TRELAB, as well as with the Anita association and with Freight Leaders Council, to work together for solving critical issues and build a virtuous model that is concretely sustainable, which can be replicated and extended.
We are proud to be among the main players in this innovative process, as we firmly believe that a future of zero-emission transport and eco-sustainable logistics is not only possible but also closer than we might think.