UltraLogistik manages Unilever’s huge European project

Unilever announced a new project which will reduce the distance its trucks drive on Europe’s roads by around 200 million kilometers annually by the end of 2014. A new network of transport hubs will be established across Europe and managed by Unilever’s existing UltraLogistik operations center in Katowice.

The company’s new transport management scheme will help to significantly reduce the impact that Unilever’s supply chain has on the environment and Europe’s roads network. Around 20 million vehicle kilometers will be removed from Polish roads.

Under an agreement signed with the European Commission, the project will use cutting edge technology to maximize the load efficiency of the trucks in use.

According to the company, the scheme is the largest project of its size and scope in the EU, and will make a significant contribution to the delivery of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), which has set out the company’s ambition to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact.

As part of the USLP, Unilever has committed to ensuring that its CO2 emissions from its global logistics network will be at or below 2010 levels by 2020 – despite the significantly higher production volumes that will be generated as the company grows. This will represent a 40% improvement in CO2 efficiency.

It is estimated that by the end of 2014, the project will remove annually the equivalent of around 154 000 truck voyages between Brussels and Warsaw or more than 260 000 truck voyages between Berlin and Brussels, compared to 2010 levels. Traffic reduction should happen in almost all EU member states, with particular impact in highly congested areas.

Fewer trucks on the European roads network will also result in less carbon emissions. By the end of 2014, the project also expects to reduce the carbon emissions from our logistics network by around 15 000 tonnes of CO2 each year, compared to 2010 levels.

“This project is a major step forwards in the delivery of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Reducing the number of kilometers that our trucks need to travel will result in a significant reduction in the environmental impact of our supply chain operations. But the business benefits of this initiative are equally important and they demonstrate, once again, the business case for driving sustainability into our business. Not only will this reduce our carbon emissions, but the long-term savings we will generate as a result of the reduced kilometers driven will help us become even more efficient and cost effective” – Jan Zijderveld, President of Unilever Europe, said in a statement.

Unilever’s UltraLogistik in Katowice will operate a network of regional hubs located across Europe. Each hub will be responsible for reducing the number of vehicle kilometers driven by ensuring that trucks are fuller as they travel across Europe from suppliers to factories and from factories to warehouses. “The scale of the undertaking makes it an unprecedented initiative“ – commented Matthias John, UltraLogistik Operations Center Manager.

UltraLogistik’s Transport Operations Center was launched in Katowice in 2008. It manages Unilever’s transport movements by finding the most efficient ways to move raw materials and packaging to the company’s factories and then transport finished goods to around 350 warehouses in Europe.

In August, katowicethecity.com informed about expansion of UltraLogistik. The center will be moved to a new, larger-sized office at the beginning of 2013.

About the EU programme
Marco Polo is the EU funding programme for logistic operators that are committed to the sustainable transport of goods across Europe. Between 2003 and 2009 over 500 firms received project funding. The second Marco Polo programme runs from 2007 to 2013 with an expanded budget and even greater ambition. Traffic avoidance is one of its key priorities.