Walking floor truck
Walking floor truck

Reduced transport capacity creates challenges for the recycling industry

July 20, 2023
Written by 

Several coinciding factors makes bulk transport scarce this summer. "Fewer trucks on the roads than normal are creating challenges for the recycling industry," says Operations Manager at Geminor, Erik Solstrand.

By far the largest proportion of Refuse-derived Fuel (RDF), wood, plastic and other fractions for material or energy recovery are currently transported by road with return transport. Waste that is not transported over long distances, and therefore does not need to be baled, is loaded as bulk in walking floor trucks.

It is this transport capacity that is currently reduced in countries such as Norway, creating challenges for the industry players, explains Operations Manager at Geminor, Erik Solstrand.

"From Easter until the summer, there is normally a high level of activity and a lot of processed waste is being moved to energy recovery plants in Norway and Sweden, among other places."

"This year, however, the recycling industry and logistics operators have struggled to find suitable road transport for the waste. When not all the waste can be transported as normal to the offtaker, major challenges are created throughout the value chain," says Solstrand.

Erik Solstrand is Operations Manager at Geminor.

Several reasons for lack of capacity

The reason for the capacity shortage is complex, according to Erik Solstrand.

"This has to do with the activity of foreign companies in Norway. If there is a reduction in the transport of goods to the country, there is less available capacity on the road for return transport of waste," says Solstrand.

"Another factor is that the currency, where the falling value of the Norwegian Krone  makes revenues lower for foreign carriers in Norway. Since waste transportation is not the most attractive assignments in the first place, lower freight rates will further reduce capacity," says Solstrand.

But there are also more general factors.

"Another reason could be the gradual reduction of drivers in some areas in Europe. In addition, the introduction of the EU's "Mobility Package" regulations last year may have reduced the activity of smaller foreign transport operators in Norway," says Solstrand.

Solstrand now fears that the transport problems could create challenges for the industry over time.

"As a recycling and logistics player in the market, we have to deal with the realities and solve the challenges as they arise. A lot can be adjusted by redirecting the streams and using other forms of transportation such as rail and ships wherever we can. Another solution is to bale and store more waste at our processing plants, for delivery at a later date."

"Now we can only hope for an early solution to the challenges," concludes Erik Solstrand, Operations Manager at Geminor.