Promoting Modal Shift in Transportation of Goods

The Kirin Group promotes rail freight with lower CO2 emissions. Furthermore, Kirin Group is actively pursuing a modal shift of switching from truck transport to rail and ocean transport for mid-to long-distance shipments (400 to 500 km or more). Although truck transport is efficient when transporting various types of beverages over a relatively short distance to the warehouse of our business partner, rail transport causes lower CO2 emissions in long-distance shipments. We have also developed special cartons (registered as utility model) that are less likely to rub together during long-distance rail transport. These are just some of the initiatives we are
continuing to take in pursuing a modal shift as we work to reduce CO2 emissions and maintain and improve quality during shipping at the same time.

Joint delivery from Pacific Ocean side to Japan Sea side

  • 北陸地方への共同配送

Joint delivery

The Kirin Group has positioned the logistics area as a noncompetitive sector and is actively engaging in initiatives in this area.
In 2017, together with other companies in the industry, we established a joint delivery center in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, and launched joint transport by rail container from plants in the Kansai area. Neither of the companies has manufacturing plants on the Japan Sea side, so products had to be transported by truck over long distances - of 200 km - from their plants on the Pacific Ocean side. This was inefficient and
placed a great burden on the truck drivers. Joint transportation using rail containers has not only significantly reduced CO2 emissions but also shortened distances between the plants and the terminals and between the terminals and the destinations with a significant alleviation of driver’s burden, which is helping to solve the social issue of truck driver shortage. A similar initiative has also been launched in Hokkaido by four sector peer companies including Kirin Brewery.

Joint delivery in Hokkaido

  • 北海道での共同配送

Joint collection of beer pallets

In a joint initiative by the Japan’s four major breweries, we are expanding the joint collection of beer pallets.
The joint collection of beer pallets began in the Tohoku area in November 2018 and has been expanded to the Tokyo metropolitan, Tokai, and Kyushu areas from July 2019. It will be progressively expanded to other areas from November 2019 until it becomes a nationwide initiative. Against a background of labor shortages in the logistics area, including a shortage of drivers for truck transport, the aims of the joint beer pallet collection initiative are to reduce our environmental footprint through streamlining of logistics and to alleviate the operational burdens of both the manufacturers and their customers.
With the area expansion in July, improvements in loading efficiency for collection vehicles and shorter collection distances have promoted further reductions in CO2 emissions.
It is estimated that this will result in an annual reduction in total CO2 emissions by the four breweries of approximately 4,778 tonnes (approximately 47% compared to usual emissions).

Joint collection scheme for beer pallets

  • Joint collection scheme for beer pallets

  1. Restricted to customers that have dealings with multiple companies and a transaction scale of at least a certain level (total of around 10,000 beer pallets a year from members of the Association for Joint Use of Beer Pallets)
  2. One company will represent the four beer companies and collect the pallets. None of the other companies will collect them.
  3. The representative will tally up the pallets of the four beer companies and manage the collection with the customer.

Improving loading efficiency

Using a truck allocation system that has master data for the precise loading capacities of each truck, the Kirin Group is working to transport our products with the most efficient combinations of trucks and cargo.
Further, Kirin Beverage compensated the capacity reduction for large carbonated drink containers (1.5 L) by changing its shoulder shape and changed the body diameter of the PET bottles from 92.5 mm to 89.5 mm. This means that the number of cases loaded on one pallet has been increased from 40 (10 cases x 4 stacks) to 60 (15 cases x 4 stacks), improving the loading efficiency to 1.5 times.

  • Improving loading efficiency

Reducing the weight of containers

Between 1990 and 2019, Kirin Brewery and Kirin Beverage reduced CO2 emissions from container manufacturing by a total of 4.21 million tonnes* by reducing the weight of containers and packaging. Making containers lighter leads to reducing CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process of containers and packaging and improving loading efficiency, which also leads to reduction of CO2 emissions.

  • Calculated based on the Carbon Footprint Product Category Rule (Certified CFP-PCR Number: PA-BV-02) applied to the actual container usage of Kirin Brewery and Kirin Beverage from 1990 to 2019.

Vendor-managed warehouse

The soft drinks manufactured and sold by Kirin Beverage are produced at plants throughout Japan and cover a wide range of beverages, including tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, and sports drinks. Because raw ingredient production plants and warehouses are extremely limited in number in contrast to product manufacturing plants, long distance shipments are increasing. Since raw ingredients are transported when necessary, and in the amounts necessary, in accordance with the plans of product manufacturing plants, even small amounts of raw ingredients are transported over a long distance, which has become an inefficient practice.
In an aim to mitigate the risk of not being able to transport due to an unavailability of trucks and to optimize transportation efficiency, we started a trial operation of raw materials procurement and distribution system using a raw materials warehouse (vendor-managed warehouse) adjacent to Kirin Beverage’s in-house plants Shonan Plant and Shiga Plant, from October 2019. By setting a vendor-managed warehouse, raw ingredient suppliers can transport the desired amount of raw ingredients when they need to, thereby maximizing efficiency. In addition, this has made it easier to cope with sudden changes in manufacturing plans, and contribute greatly to improving the responsiveness of manufacturing plants.
In April 2020, we increased the number of applicable raw ingredients to more than 200 types at 20 plants nationwide, including subcontract plants, and the system is in full operation. 
Given full-scale operation, we are expecting to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 1,000 tonnes per year (reduction rate of approximately 80%) and to cut the number of long-distance*1 transport trucks by at least 4,000 vehicles (reduction rate of
approximately 63%)*2.

  1. Defined as 100 km or more
  2. Estimated based on the raw ingredient transportation results in 2017, only for raw ingredients that are assumed to make use of vendormanaged warehouse.

Efforts to improve the efficiency of raw ingredient transportation by using vendor-managed warehouse

  • Efforts to improve the efficiency of raw ingredient transportation by using vendor-managed warehouse