The transportation initiative will save 2,600 metric tons of CO2 annually, Unilever says.
Green Express is a result of a partnership with Trenitalia and the Italian Ministry for Environment.
As of July 5, a dedicated line will transport Algida ice creams from the Unilever factory in Caivano, near Naples, 700 km to the logistics hub in Parma. Unilever says the direct connection, linking three lines, means that 3,500 trucks will be taken off the road each year.
Unilever estimates the trains will also reduce costs by 6 percent per year, compared to traditional road transportation. Other benefits include reducing congestion and potential traffic accidents, and an energy saving of 40 million Mega-Joules per year, Unilever says.
David Beauchamp, vice president logistics for Europe, says Unilever hopes other companies in Italy will adopt similar rail transportation approaches.
Green Express is part of a wider eco-efficiency program within Unilever’s supply chain to support the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. By 2020, CO2 emissions from Unilever’s global logistics network will be at or below 2010 levels, the company says. This will overall represent a 40 percent improvement in CO2 efficiency. It has improved CO2 efficiency by 10 percent since 2010.
In April, Unilever announced it has reduced CO2 from its manufacturing and logistics operations by more than 1 million metric tons since 2008, saving the company more than €300 million ($394.8 million). For manufacturing, this represents a reduction of 31.5 percent per metric ton of production, a company spokesperson told Environmental Leader.