Dutch brewer Bavaria has signed a shared transportation agreement with Heinz and Mars to move their products across Europe by inland waterways.
Although the UK is famed for its canals, the size of the waterways in Europe makes transport by barge, a truly sustainable solution if the volumes being shipped are large enough, said Bavaria.
Beer coming to the UK is shipped in 45ft containers aboard river barges that head to the port of Rotterdam every day. By sharing the barge with confectionery from Mars and ketchup from Heinz, the full load ensures the environmental impact of distribution is significantly reduced for the three companies, Bavaria reports.
Bavaria UK managing director, Mike Teague, said: “In recent years, Bavaria has undertaken a range of measures to reduce emissions associated with transportation. We send our beers across Europe by train and were the first brewer in Europe to switch our distribution fleet to trucks that meet the low-emission Euro 6 standard.
“We have to accept the more we sell in the UK, the more we have to ship from Holland. There’s no substitute for the natural mineral water we use from the spring under the brewery, so we do everything we can to ensure our beers are sustainable. And that includes the shipping methods.
“From the feedback we’ve had from our customers in the UK, we know they share our approach to sustainability and they have welcomed this initiative.
“Bavaria has always been a brewery that looked to the future; a leader, rather than a follower, so hopefully we will see other European brewers and manufacturers follow our lead and start shipping to Rotterdam by barge for their global exports.”
In recent years the measures taken by Bavaria have reduced CO2 emissions associated with transport by 28%. This commitment to sustainability recently won the brewery a ‘Lean and Green’ award from Connekt, a group dedicated to the development of sustainable logistics in the Netherlands and beyond.