Driving a Cleaner, More Sustainable Logistics Industry

Transportation and sustainability: not exactly two things you think of together. But now more than ever, it’s important for businesses of all industries and sizes—particularly the transportation sector—to look beyond the bottom line and consider what sort of future we’re contributing to on a daily basis.

Given the latest climate report published by the International Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.) and the role our industry plays in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, it’s crucial to bring transportation and sustainability together to the forefront of environmental discussions. While “going green” isn’t something that will happen overnight, there are plenty of ways we can all improve our carbon footprint day in and day out.


Trucking—specifically medium and-heavy-duty trucks—account for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions. Considering the number of empty trucks crisscrossing our highways daily—wasting empty miles, fuel, money and time—it’s not hard to see why our industry’s contribution is so high.

While it’s currently not feasible to fully eliminate trucking emissions, there are ways to help reduce this contribution. One of Coyote’s core business objectives is aimed at solving one of the oldest problems facing the logistics industry: carriers driving around with an empty trailer, or “deadheading.” By helping to reload drivers with revenue-generating backhaul freight, it’s possible to reduce empty miles thus improving fuel efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and alleviating traffic congestion.


In 2016, in an effort to help execute shippers’ consistent, high-volume and dedicated freight, we implemented a new department: Fleet Solutions. Consisting of three teams—Private and Dedicated Fleet, UPS Asset Utilization and POLT (Power Only Leased Trailer)—Fleet Solutions allows us to have an even greater impact on supply chain efficiency that contributes to greater sustainable benefits.


Private fleets make up more than half of the $726 billion truckload industry. Since 2010, our Private Fleet service has been helping to eliminate backhauls by turning customers into carriers, loading shippers’ underutilized private and dedicated fleet assets. Our internally designed technology identifies backhaul matches between a shippers’ assets and Coyote’s freight network to eliminate empty miles, reduce emissions and turn deadhead into profit for both shippers and fleets. By utilizing private and dedicated fleets, you are not only helping to ship more sustainably, but you are offering other shippers in the Coyote network a source of consistent, reliable and cost-effective capacity.


UPS operates one of the largest and most efficient asset networks in the world. To maintain its intricate equipment balance, UPS has to move over 20,000 empty trailers and containers every day—we’re on a mission to fill them with freight. When UPS acquired Coyote, we gained access to over 75,000 assets and 14,000 UPS drivers. This combination allows us to deliver more cost-effective, sustainable and customized solutions to both shippers and carriers in various market conditions and situations.


POLT—Power Only Leased Trailer—is our newest fleet solution that eliminates costly backhauls by pairing competitive pricing with scalable capacity. We source leased trailers for consistent, high-volume lanes, then utilize power only carriers to shuttle the trailers between multiple shippers. This flexible, more cost-effective solution allows us to ship any load, regardless of destination, on a POLT trailer, thus eliminating complicated loading schedules and creating continuous, round-trip movements for carriers. All POLT trailers are equipped with GPS, providing efficiencies for drivers and creating real-time visibility for Coyote and our shippers. POLT isn’t your typical brokerage solution—it provides carriers consistent, scheduled moves and gives shippers scalable and reliable capacity.


Another way to reduce trucking emissions is to eliminate the truck altogether and search for more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly ways to ship freight. Through our proprietary, internally-designed technology, we analyze your networks, hunting for modal conversion opportunities. Converting over-the-road truckload freight to intermodal (IMDL) shipping on the rail is one of the most sustainable options in the industry. Trains are, on average, four times more fuel-efficient than trucks, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75 percent.

Shipping less-than-truckload (LTL) and volume LTL is another great way to reduce carbon emissions. When you only need a few pallets shipped rather than a full truckload, LTL is much more cost-effective than utilizing an entire truck. Coyote’s LTL team scours your networks, looking for consolidation opportunities, thus further reducing emissions from empty backhauls.


Improving your carbon footprint goes beyond just reducing emissions. Having a comprehensive view of your supply chain through a transportation management system (TMS)—complete with big data—is one of the best ways to collaborate and improve your processes. Our Collaborative Transportation Management (CTM) platform is designed to provide full network visibility, allowing you to streamline efficiencies, cut costs and optimize your networks. It is a single platform that connects every facet of the supply chain, so you and your company can plan and source capacity more sustainably.


Sustainability is all about improving today’s actions to ensure we have access to resources in the future. The more we improve our carbon footprint today, the better off the environment—and our industry—will be in the coming years. At Coyote, you can count on us to constantly be on the hunt for new and more sustainable solutions for your supply chain. Whether it’s optimizing a TMS system, eliminating empty miles with private fleet and POLT, or overlaying multiple networks to find more sustainably friendly shipping options, we will always live up to our mission of doing the right thing for shippers, carriers, and of course, the environment.

 Coyote Logistics crunches pricing, lane information, service metrics and capacity to recommend the best shipping solutions to customers, eliminating empty miles and reducing carbon emissions.”

-Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability for UPS Europe

To learn about how you can ship more sustainably with Coyote, click here or call 1-866 COYOTE to speak to a rep today.

This article was based on the Sustainable Brands article, “Investing in Innovative Technology Can Drive Sustainable Growth” published in May 2017.

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