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Ocean Spray Cranberries gained a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases on top of a 40 percent savings in transportation costs by making smart process changes to one of its primary transportation and distribution routes, according to a study conducted by the Center for Transportation and Logistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT CTL).
The study measured the sustainability improvements after Ocean Spray, the $2.2 billion agricultural cooperative and household-name fruit juice and food manufacturer, opened a new distribution center and partnered with a competitor to improve transportation efficiency.
Ocean Spray’s first process change to reduce transportation costs, shave delivery distances and, ultimately, trim emissions, was to open a new distribution center in Florida, bringing product supply closer to demand. The company was looking for a more cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable way to transport finished products to the new distribution center when it learned of a competing juice company’s New Jersey to Florida backhaul opportunity. Ocean Spray investigated whether it was possible to fill the competitor’s vacant railcars with Ocean Spray product already headed in that direction by truck.
Taking advantage of the backhaul opportunity involved working with a logistics partner as intermediary and coordinating shipments with each other’s schedules. With only a modest investment of time and money, Ocean Spray realized both financial and greenhouse gas emissions savings over a 12-month period:
- A shift of 80 percent of its freight traffic between New Jersey and Florida to a new rail route.
- A 20 percent overall carbon footprint reduction in that lane.
- An estimated 40 percent savings on transportation costs in that lane (about $200 per truckload).
- A savings of 1,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide (a 68 percent reduction) contributing to the overall reduction of 20 percent identified by MIT, the equivalent to saving over 100,000 gallons of fuel.