The road freight industry in New Zealand is complex. It is driven by domestic and international economic activity and the need to meet customer demands and expectations. Businesses operate in a highly competitive environment with slim profit margins. They also need to meet health and safety requirements, which directs how they deliver on their specific freight tasks. Given this complexity, it is unlikely that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will have the greatest impact on reducing GHG emissions from road freight. The Government should consider options that provide the freight industry with flexibility to transition to the alternative green fuels that are best suited to their organisations.
The road freight industry operates as a system. Freight operators, vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure developers and fuel producers/operators have an interdependent relationship. Changes in one part of the system will affect other parts of the system. Decision makers need to be cognisant of the impact their decisions have across the whole system, and they need to consider the role each player has in reducing New Zealand’s GHG emissions.
While the intention of this paper has been to provide a wide range of options for consideration, all options presented in this paper require further analysis. In particular, the social impact and costs and benefits of the different options need greater investigation. Some options are also likely to result in costs to industry, but there is equally a cost of not acting now to encourage and support behaviour change. The co-benefits of transitioning to alternative green fuels are also an important element in making the right policy and investment decisions and should form part of the criteria for assessing the options presented.