Briand, Y., Rothbard, S. (2023). "Shortening global supply chains as a key to decarbonising transport", Module 1, Spotlight 5, in SLOCAT (2023). Global Status Report on Transport, Climate and Sustainability – 3rd edition.

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More information on the report


The context is changing and this may impact the future geographical configuration of supply chains. The possibility of a reduction of movements and distances should therefore be considered as a core component of any realistic freight decarbonization strategies reaching zero emissions by 2050. This demand-side component of the strategy should be articulated with necessary technological changes in a coherent systemic change. Furthermore, failing to analyse and anticipate what will be the future of the international production organisation could be risky and raises questions for ports, ship owners or energy providers investing in the sector, including:

  • What will be the future geographical structure of maritime routes? How existing routes will be affected?
  • If the route lengths are changing, how will that affect the technological choices in ships and related energy supply?