The transport sector is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, generating approximately one-quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And the situation isn’t improving as it should be – between 2000 and 2019, carbon emissions from the sector rose on all continents except Europe.
Fortunately, countries are waking up to the fact that this situation is not sustainable, and urgent action must be taken if we want to achieve the objective of the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming within 2°C, ideally within 1.5°C.
As the first country in the MENA region to pursue a net-zero by 2050 pathway, the UAE is at the forefront of driving the carbon footprint decrease in the industry. According to the third update of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, the country is targeting a 20 percent emission reduction per passenger-kilometer and a 40 percent emission reduction per freight ton-kilometer by 2030.
While the transportation network is bound to expand – commensurate with the projected population growth of 14 percent – a series of dynamic policies and regulations aims to keep emission generation in check.
Reaching these goals requires all stakeholders across the transport value chain – from aviation, railways, marine, and public transport to freight, logistics, and delivery – to adopt science-based emission reduction targets.
In this context, the rental industry is witnessing a fundamental shift towards innovative smart mobility options that can go a long way in slashing its carbon footprint. Motorcycles have a great potential to do their part for sectoral emission reduction through a variety of measures – from electrification to improving fuel economy. Their favorable attributes, such as cost-effectiveness, exceptional maneuverability, and expedited travel, are driving the popularity of two-wheelers in the UAE’s mobility market, especially in the last-mile delivery space.
Consequently, a multitude of e-commerce, F&B, and other business platforms are using motorcycles for their delivery operations. Furthermore, increased fuel efficiency and minimal maintenance expenses contribute significantly to the escalating demand for motorcycles in the country.
One of the ways service providers in the rental transport business can support the UAE’s decarbonization efforts and ongoing shift toward cleaner mobility solutions is to reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on emissions. This can be done by transitioning to an electric vehicle (EV) fleet. As this can have cost implications, a transition phase is recommended whereby a company can have a hybrid fleet, and then move to a completely EV set up at some point.
In addition, the World Economic Forum says that “increasing electrified transport, which leads to improved air quality, reduced emissions, and lower noise levels,” can help the industry become more sustainable. This will, however, require that cities will be able to ensure that regional electrical grids can accommodate the increased demand for power from the transportation sector. Most also need to build significantly more charging infrastructure.
Recognizing the importance of automation in enhancing clients’ operational efficiency is another. Developing and operating a next-generation Automated Fleet Management and Intelligent Transportation System, powered by the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, can help industry players to manage a large fleet of motorcycles efficiently and sustainably. Using such a system, for example, fleet managers can monitor their leased-out motorbikes and obtain real-time, accurate, and actionable data. The portal can also be customized to add features such as smart dispatch and billing, preventive and breakdown maintenance, driver identification, and remote immobilizers.
Looking ahead, service providers can look at transporting goods using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to set up a delivery option using aerial drones.
All these can help foster a greener mobility ecosystem. The goal is to build a fleet of the future that will decarbonize last-mile delivery in the UAE and the wider region.
Ahmad Al Sadah is CEO of EasyLease, a leading mobility solutions company and a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based International Holdings Company (IHC).
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