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Freight movement to take e-mobility route in Kochi

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A fleet of electric light commercial vehicles (e-LCVs) will ferry cargo to Ernakulam market that is awaiting reconstruction as part of infra projects of Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML).

This push for e-mobility to ferry goods is part of EcoLogistics, a low-carbon action plan that will be implemented jointly by the Kochi Corporation and ICLEI-South Asia. Apart from Kochi, the project is being implemented in Shimla and Panaji and in three cities each in Argentina and Colombia. The German-funded project aims to lessen carbon emission caused by freight movement in cities and to relocate godowns and warehouses from cities to well-planned logistics hubs in the suburbs.

The action plan to lessen pollution caused by freight movement was readied based on a study conducted in Kochi. It was commissioned as part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI). The Kochi Corporation has approved the plan for the market, while ICI approval is awaited. Talks are on with manufacturers to select e-LCVs, official sources said.

The study showed that 38% of vehicles operated in the city carried freight, of which 42% were LCVs operated on diesel. Their transit through city routes is maximum from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and their presence is maximum on the Perumbavoor-Kochi route. The agencies concerned have readied short-, medium- and long-term plans to lessen carbon emission due to freight movement.

According to Mayor M. Anilkumar, the project aims to lessen pollution and bring about a liveable city. “Improving infrastructure alone will not bring in development. Everyone must take a serious look at increasing carbon emissions and their impact. This has become a major concern of urban local bodies,” he added.

Besides augmenting public transport systems to lessen the number of private vehicles, eco-friendly cargo transport too is needed to alleviate air and sound pollution. It is in this context that the low-carbon action plan was readied, he said.

Urban freight transport has significant environmental and social impacts like greenhouse gas emissions, poor air quality, noise pollution, road accidents, and traffic congestion. Globally, urban freight transport represents up to 25% of urban vehicles, takes up to 40% of road space and contributes to up to 40% of urban transport-related carbon emissions. The project to change the situation by local action is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through its International Climate Initiative programme. It will help develop effective regulatory, planning and logistical instruments at different levels of the government to bring about low-carbon freight transport in Kochi, sources said.

The Kochi Corporation has formed an EcoLogistics multi-stakeholder working group which is chaired by the Mayor. Additionally, the city has developed and approved citywide urban freight baseline, which is the first such city-wide assessment done in the country along with Shimla and Panaji.

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