All of the data in the image was obtained from the environmental calculator, Ecotransit* which is a European collaboration between industry participants in road, rail, maritime, intermodal traffic and freight forwarding. Ecotransit is a user-friendly online environmental calculator that is free to use; pay them a visit at their website »

Work of transportationThe climate impact of transports is dependent on many factors, of which fuel is the most important. There are many alternatives, particularly with road freight. Diesel fuel with 25 percent HVO** and 7 percent RME*** is currently available in the market. With this type of fuel, the road alternative achieves 23km. It is also possible to fill up with 100 percent HVO at a handful of locations. With a 90 percent reduction of carbon dioxide compared with fossil-based diesel, the road alternative achieves 145 km.

Trains can also be powered by different energy sources. For electricity, the climate impact is dependent on the origin, and the share of coal power is high in certain countries in the continental Europe. For example, in Germany, an electric train will get as far as 50 km with 1 tonne of freight, before discharging 1 kg of carbon dioxide.

In 2014, Green Cargo transported 96.1 percent of its volume using electric locomotives and 3.9 percent with diesel locomotives. A diesel train in Sweden that is powered by 100 percent fossil-based diesel will get as far as 40 km. All electric trains in Sweden are powered by 100 percent renewable energy from hydroelectric plants and consequently, an electric train will achieve about 9,000 km with 1 tonne of freight.


The input data we used for our calculations at Ecotransit comprised:

Road freight — truck with trailer, Euro 6.60% capacity utilization rate, 20% empty-return factor,

low-mixture diesel

Maritime — Intracontinental vessels, under 35,000 deadweight tonnage, capacity utilization rate 57% and

25% freight reduction, fossil fuel

Rail — Electric trains, gross weight 1,000 tonnes, 60% capacity utilization rate, 50% empty-return factor,

renewable electricity

* Ecotransit adheres to the EN 1628 standard, which stipulates the method for calculating the environmental impact of freight transportation. The basic data originates from recognized sources, all of which is audited in a background report that is available for download from the website. Ecotransit also collaborates with the Swedish Network for Transport Measures; which works with transportation and the environment, read more about NTM » 

** HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oils) can be produced using forest raw materials, slaughterhouse waste or other organic materials as a base. Hydrogen is added through a process and the end product has identical properties to fossil-based diesel.

*** RME (rapeseed methyl ester) is produced through the transesterification of rapeseed oil. Although the product is not identical to fossil diesel, it can be mixed with diesel or used directly in vehicles that are approved for RME.