Road logistics decarbonization challenges

Mihai Neagoe, Hans Henrik Hvolby, Paul Turner, Kenn Steger-Jensen, Carsten Svensson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


As a significant source of carbon emissions, road logistics operators are under increasing pressure from governments and customers to find ways to decarbonize as part of broader global efforts to reach net zero. Decarbonization of road logistics relies on the widespread diffusion of existing and emerging technological transport solutions. These include alternative fuel vehicles, battery technologies, renewable energy and charging solutions. All promise to reduce carbon emissions, but their implementation remains challenging, expensive, and risky. As early adopters of alternative fuel vehicles have reported, transitioning from fossil fuels poses challenges that must be prepared for and understood to minimize the obstacles to genuine emissions reductions in road logistics. A considerable volume of academic research has been published advocating emission reduction solutions and providing detailed analyses of their potential positive environmental impacts. However, to our knowledge, no frameworks integrate these analyses with practical insights into current and anticipated challenges for road logistics operators transitioning from fossil fuels to a decarbonized future. This paper analyses contemporary evidence and insights on current and future issues and presents an integrated framework for road freight logistics decarbonization challenges. The framework primarily focuses on decarbonization through alternative fuels and analyses three categories of challenges from socio-technical, economic, and environmental perspectives. The three categories of challenges relate to alternative fuel vehicles and fleets, alternative fuel distribution infrastructure and renewable energy generation. The underlying principle of the framework is to provide a practical tool that supports a more informed view of both the advantages and challenges of transitioning to alternative fuels. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by providing a framework to help direct future research into tackling these logistics decarbonization challenges. The insights presented in this paper may also inform practitioners by sensitizing them to potential roadblocks in the transition away from fossil fuels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139979
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberJanuary
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Alternative fuel vehicles
  • Electric vehicles
  • Fossil fuel transition
  • Fuel cell vehicles
  • Sustainability


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  • V4C: Value4Sea

    Hvolby, H.-H. (Principle researcher), Vestergaard, S. (Co-researcher), Wide, P. (Co-researcher), Frick, J. (Co-researcher), Thorsen, B. (Co-researcher), Steger-Jensen, K. (Co-researcher) & Roslyng Olesen, T. (Co-researcher)


    Project: Research

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