Problem

Increase in product transport distances

Other Names:
Long distance food transport
Nature:
The total volume of road freight is stagnating but lorry activity is increasing. Products are now being transported ever longer distances. This is in response to the global economy with its world centres of production, local economies which centralize production, and large volume production and consumption strategies of supermarkets and retail chains. It is also a response to consumer demand for exotic products and year-round availability of summer fruits or winter vegetables rather than what is seasonal to the locality. Increased shipping of consumer products is contributing directly to road congestion and the environmental impacts of road transport, and indirectly to the environmental impacts of consumer products.
Incidence:
Since 1950, the volume of goods taken over long distances by road in Europe has doubled while that of goods taken up to 50 kilometres has stayed roughly the same. Only the milk in a particular pot of a south German yoghurt had travelled less than 50 kilometres to the factory. The item also contained corn and wheat powder transported from all over Europe, yoghurt culture from the north of Germany, strawberries from Poland, Scandinavian paper, and the plastic box, securing labels, resin, glue, sugar, and stickers all from faraway places.
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
14.03.1997 – 00:00 CET