At the Asahi Group, entities such as Asahi Breweries, Ltd. and Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., which are designated as Specified Consignor under the Energy Saving Act, and Asahi Logistics Co., Ltd., the Group distribution company, collaborate on environmentally-friendly efforts.
In a bid to reduce the environmental impact of distribution operations and address the problem of driver shortages on long-haul truck routes, Asahi Breweries has entered into a joint distribution arrangement with other beer suppliers within a limited region. Since September 2017, Asahi Breweries has joined with Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory breweries for the purpose of product deliveries in the Kushiro and Nemuto districts in the eastern part of Hokkaido prefecture. Where a truck is not fully loaded, products from the production and/or distribution facilities of the four breweries are taken to a warehouse at the JR Sapporo Kamotsu Terminal station and then loaded for delivery to the respective destinations via a combination of rail and road freight.
By using rail containers and maximizing loading volumes, this initiative boosts overall distribution efficiency, delivering an estimated reduction in annual CO2 emissions of 330 t (approximately 28% less than previously) and taking an estimated 800 long-distance trucks off the roads every year.
In April 2018, the four breweries launched another joint initiative, this time a modal shift in their in-house transportation of goods from the Kansai and Chugoku regions to the southern island of Kyushu. That is, the breweries now transport alcohol and soft drink products by rail from their respective distribution facilities to the closest JR cargo terminal station for dispatch to JR Osaka Kamotsu Terminal station in Kansai and JR Okayama Kamotsu Terminal station in Chugoku. The products are then loaded onto a dedicated rail wagon for transportation down to Kyushu. In Kyushu, the products are then split up again and taken by rail to the closest JR cargo terminal station for dispatch to each distribution center. Similarly, the breweries aggregate products at the JR Fukuoka Kamotsu Terminal station from their respective production and/or distribution facilities in Kyushu for transport up north.
This initiative transfers the carrying capacity of about 2,400 large delivery trucks to rail containers and reduces annual CO2 emissions by around 1,500 t (approximately 74% less than previously).
The Asahi Group commenced joint beer pallet collection with the same three companies in six prefectures in Tohoku (Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi and Fukushima) in November 2018.
The Asahi Group estimates that the initiative will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the four beer manufacturers by a combined total of about 735 tons per year (about 56% less than the current level) by improving the load-carrying efficiency of vehicles used for collection, shortening the distance they travel for collection and lowering the number of trucks used in connection with collection operations. The Asahi Group also thinks the initiative will lower the operational burden for customers by reducing the number of companies accepting returned beer pallets from the previous four to one.