Improving the operational efficiency and reducing transport-related carbon emissions of food distribution hubs: a short, non-technical overview

Arijit De, Barbara Tocco, Matthew Gorton

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

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Abstract

The challenges faced by small-scale food producers, such as low profits and limited bargaining power, can be mitigated through local and regional food hubs. These hubs not only contribute to local economic development but also gather products from producers and distribute them to consumers. However, the logistics involved in food hubs can be expensive, particularly for small volume journeys, which can result in carbon emissions that surpass those of supermarket supply chains. This study aims to enhance the efficiency of food hub logistics by decreasing transport costs and carbon emissions. To address the "producer-to-hub-to-customer" problem, an optimisation model was developed using real-world data from a local food hub that serves over 150 producers in the North East of England. This short report provides a non-technical overview of optimisation model and the main findings. Computational experiments were conducted to assess the impact of producer cooperation on transport and fuel costs, as well as carbon emissions. This research provided valuable insights, including the benefits of switching to electric vehicles in terms of costs and carbon emissions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

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