Turning the tide: Shipping companies and freight forwarders embracing climate action


Long gone are the times when companies could go about their business without considering their environmental impact.

There's a great deal of pressure for businesses to be more sustainable, and this is only going to increase over time. We're facing tougher Government regulations and better-informed consumers demanding more transparency and social responsibility from the companies they interact with. We're also facing the undeniable reality of depleting natural resources and more frequent extreme weather events as a consequence of climate change.

With the Australian Federal Election looming and climate action at the forefront of many voters' minds - the spotlight is on business, as well as Government, to commit to making real progress on climate change.

Some industries will need to act faster than other - particularly high-polluting industries like freight forwarding and international trade. While there's still a lot to do and learn to reduce environmental impacts, many forward-thinking freight forwarders are rising to the sustainability challenge.

Let's take a look at where we started, where we're at, and where we are heading in our journey to creating a more sustainable freight forwarding industry.

Looking back

The Internet was one of the main catalysts for a major revolution in international freight operations. It connected people in a faster and more direct way and allowed for a huge global integration of value chains.

As a result, the 2000s brought about a major milestone: the sum of global imports and exports grew to approximately half of the world's gross domestic product (GDP).

Shipping and international freight boomed but green initiatives didn't grow at the same pace. Environmental issues weren't a priority and weren't considered in the business strategy. Many businesses suffered from a general lack of understanding, so all they did was ensure compliance with basic mandatory regulations.


In recent times, environmental awareness inevitably grew and matured across all sectors, including freight forwarding and international trade.

An increased awareness of carbon emissions has led to the uptake of Biofuel and other alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biomethane, which now play an increasingly important role in achieving Net Zero Carbon.

ANL (Australian National Line) is one of the major shipping companies in Australia that are taking serious steps towards reducing their carbon footprint. They used to be a federal coastal shipping line owned by the Australian Government, but a lot has changed since those early days.

They're now leading the way in decarbonising ocean freight and have recently completed the first biofuel powered sailing on a shipping vessel within Oceania.

At Explorate, we're also committed to shaping a better way of doing logistics and responding to the evolving needs of our customers. We're overturning archaic processes and giving our clients the opportunity to access cutting-edge technologies to tackle sustainability - like our port-to-port carbon emission calculator, which calculates the greenhouse gas emissions produced with air and ocean freight. This tool allows companies to better understand and manage their carbon footprint, make well-informed decisions and take the correct next steps to achieve their carbon reduction goals with the most efficient spend.


The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has set ambitious emissions targets for 2030 and 2050 and pressure from regulators will continue to increase.

Consumers are also demanding more action to be taken by governments and businesses. The upcoming elections in Australia are evidence of this: data shows that climate change, cost of living and the economy are now the three most important issues for voters.

Importers and exporters are becoming increasingly aware that economic growth and environmental protection are inextricably linked. Their approach to environmental management needs to integrate environmental issues into the business strategy and make the best decisions in the context of the company's needs.

We know what a big challenge this is for freight forwarding and international trade and, if you've made it this far in the blog, it's probably because you know it too!

Explorate's technology and expert team are the best in the sector to help logisticians like you tackle this challenge. Partnering with us will help you balance your environmental policies and your business goals. It will also allow you to invest in feasible and truly beneficial green initiatives like carbon emission mitigation and carbon offset - and we're excited to soon be able to offer our own carbon offset program (stay tuned!).

If you'd like to discuss the best way of reducing the carbon footprint of your logistics operations, get in touch at for a free demonstration of our carbon emissions calculator and to learn more about our carbon offset program.


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