Freight sector missing from plans to scale up zero-emissions vehicle use: Pembina

New report identifies gaps in Canada’s goods movement system as deliveries, emissions rise

report cover graphic and textA new report evaluating the uptake of zero-emission vehicles in Canada’s freight sector says there are considerable policy and investment gaps that must be filled in order to scale-up efforts to transition to a clean transportation system.

The report, Building a zero-emission goods movement system: Opportunities to strengthen Canada’s ZEV freight sectorassesses existing policy at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, and identifies 10 actions urgently needed to accelerate widespread deployment of ZEVs, which is key to meeting 2030 climate targets and achieving a net-zero economy 2050. Inclusion of $150 million for charging and refuelling infrastructure in the Fall Economic Statement, and $1.5 billion from Canada Infrastructure Bank to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses, were welcome. The upcoming federal climate plan is the next opportunity to lay out a strategy for the freight sector.

Emissions from Canada’s transportation sector account for 25 per cent of total emissions, with freight accounting for 42 per cent of those. By 2030, with deliveries on the rise, freight emissions are expected to surpass passenger-vehicle emissions in Canada. Earlier this year, competing companies, including UPS and Purolator, joined with the Pembina Institute and several industry experts in a new business coalition, the Urban Delivery Solutions Initiative, to reduce these emissions.

The report, a publication of the new coalition, finds that current policies and incentives vary significantly across jurisdictions, preventing widespread adoption.

Actions called for in the report include the implementation of powerful policy tools such as sales mandates and restrictions on high-polluting vehicles, and greater investments such as $5 billion for vehicle procurement, $350 million for charging and refuelling infrastructure, and $36 million for skills training.