Environmental impact of Italian canned tomato logistics: national vs. regional supply chains

TitleEnvironmental impact of Italian canned tomato logistics: national vs. regional supply chains
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMarletto, G, Sillig, C
JournalJournal of Transport Geography

The environmental impact of food transportation is site and product specific and depends on the direct relation between origin-to-destination distance and logistic efficiency, as pointed out by the relevant literature. This paper analyses a very specific case, comparing the impacts of transportation generated by the logistics of two brands of Italian canned tomato purchased in Sassari (Sardinia, Italy), one extending over the whole continental Italian territory, the other mainly located in the island of Sardinia. Different sale (supermarket chain vs. independent retailers) and shopping (foot vs. car) modalities are also considered. The contributions to global warming, local pollution and traffic congestion are considered.
The case study shows that the logistics of the national brand is much more polluting than the regional, not only because of the longer distance between origin and destination, but also because the additional distance that is needed to reach logistic hubs is not compensated by higher load factors. Instead, the logistics of the regional brand is based on a very efficient point-to-point organization. This result is generalizable to all regional supply chains featuring high volumes of product. Results of the case study also depend on: a) the high impact of packaging transportation, because of the very low weight/volume ratio of empty cans; b) the high CO2 emission coefficient of lorries and trailers transportation by ferry (Ro–Ro). The case study also stresses the very high impact of shopping by car.

Keywordscanned tomato, environmental impact, italy, logistics