Calculation of carbon emissions from the transportation of a consignment of goods

Carbon emissions from transporting a batch of goods depend on:

  • depends on the filling level of the car: how much cargo is in the car in relation to the maximum amount of loading. For example, the maximum load is 1000kg, 50% filling means that the load is 500kg.
  • depends on the mass of the consignment of goods: what part of the consignment is occupied by the weight of the wagon
  • depends on the transportation
  • depends on the specific vehicle emission factor: how much emissions a vehicle produces per batch of goods at a certain distance and with a certain load.

The idea is that the total transport emissions are distributed among the objects in the car in proportion to their masses. That is, the greater the share of goods in the load, the greater the share of emissions produced by the vehicle is accounted for by the goods in question.


An example of the grain principle:

The transportation distance is 50 km, the total emission is 8.0 kgCO2. The maximum vehicle load is 1000 kg. The filling level is 50%, which means that there are about 500 kg of cargo in the wagon. For the central kitchen of the municipality there is a batch of fish weighing 100 kg. What are the carbon emissions from shipping the goods in question?

100 kg / 500 kg x 8.0 kgCO2 = 1.6 kgCO2

If the car were loaded up to a maximum load of 1000 kg with other items, the fill rate would be 100% and the total emissions would be 9.0 kgCO2. What would be the carbon emissions of transporting the same 100 kg shipment at 100 percent fill level?

100 kg / 1000 kg x 9.0 kgCO2 = 0.9 kgCO2

In the previous examples, total emissions have already been calculated. The number of outliers can be obtained using the formula below. The SEF for a vehicle is derived from the degree to which it is filled. If the SEF is known, for example at a 50% fill level and a 100% fill level, SEFs for intermediate fill levels can be obtained by interpolation between the two values.

Emissions from transporting a batch of goods = specific emission factor x mass x transport distance


For example, if a 300 kg consignment is transported by van over 60 km, with a van load of 50% (i.e. including hundreds of kilograms of other cargo), the specific emission factor would be 328 gCO2/tkm. (328*10-6 kgCO2/kgkm), and emissions for a batch of goods will be:

Emissions from transporting a batch of goods = 328*10-6 kgCO2/kgkm x 300 kg x 60 km = 5.9 kgCO2