Global e-commerce giant Amazon has reported increasing its use of rail and sea transportation in Europe by 50% across 2023.

Amazon said it aims to decrease its carbon emissions by almost 50% by reducing its reliance on road transport.

The online seller has partnered with European carriers to transport its products over 100 rail routes and over 300 shipping routes. This includes rail and sea carriers Cargo Beamer, VIIa, the Mercitalia Group, Grimaldi, Stena Line, and DFDS.

Amazon emphasised the importance of the modal shift to reducing its carbon expenditure: “By moving products by sea or rail, instead of via road by trucks, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

“On average, taking a rail or sea route to transport packages or inventory helps us reduce carbon emissions by almost 50%”.

But that figure is unlikely to hit zero in the short term, with traditional trucks still required for first-and-last mile operations.

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The product will be delivered to a seaport or rail terminal, where it is then moved to another port/terminal before it gets to its final destination. Amazon has stated it has organised the route so that trailers go the greatest distances by train or sea.

Amazon’s promotional video of its new rail and sea offerings. Credit: Amazon

Amazon’s use of rail has been gradually increasing over several years.

The company reported an increase of 300% in rail movement in 2020 and stated that across Europe its rail use focused on “inventory transfers between fulfilment centres.”