Case study - Value Chain

Epson has manufacturing sites and sales centers in all parts of the world making environmentally-conscious transportation an important consideration. Here we present examples of such environmentally-conscious transportation initiatives in which we introduced high cube containers 1 and changed our distribution center and shipping method.
1 With a height of 9 ft 6 in (about 2.6 m), they are 1 ft (about 30 cm) taller than standard containers, whose height is 8 feet 6 inches (about 2.3 m).

Topic 1 : Slashing CO2 emissions by Redesigning Distribution Routes

Epson was providing consumer products for customers in southern Africa by shipping them to Johannesburg, South Africa from a distribution center in the United Arab Emirates or from a central warehouse in Germany. This approach was taken because Epson did not have its own distribution center in Africa and was using an existing distribution center.
Having to first ship products to the UAE or Germany from our production sites in Asia (China, Indonesia, and the Philippines) before delivery to southern Africa increased transport distances. We needed to address the issue of higher transport CO2 emissions and long delivery times.
To do so, we established our own new distribution center in South Africa and began shipping directly to it from our production sites to serve the expanding African market. This dramatic change in distribution routes resulted in a 66%-75% reduction in transport CO2 emissions compared to when we shipped via the UAE and a 34%-41% reduction compared to when we shipped from Germany.

Topic 2 : Improving Transport Efficiency with High Cube Containers

Currently, high cube containers account for about 70% of shipping containers in the marketplace. Hitherto, Epson has used the standard type of container for shipping products from its factories, but with the widespread adoption of high cube containers, we are gradually making the switch.
Since the inner dimensions of the containers are higher, palletizing products for standard containers resulted in wasted space amounting to about 10%. Optimizing the pallets for high cube containers reduces the number of containers required, contributing to reducing environmental impact by raising transportation efficiency.

The head of logistics planning, who led the initiative, says, "All of our arrangements including the number of products shipped and the height of the pallet racks in our warehouses were optimized for pallet sizes to fit standard containers. In order to introduce high cube containers, it was necessary to ask for the cooperation of the warehouse managers at sales companies who receive the containers. We had to ask them to review the layout of their warehouses, optimize the method of stacking and so on. We had a very hard time adjusting the cost factors, but a shared awareness that this would reduce our environmental impact was a very important point in undertaking this activity."

For shipments from Southeast Asia, where many of Epson's finished products are manufactured, the switch to high cube containers for all areas of Europe was completed in fiscal 2011 and in fiscal 2015 for the U.S., Brazil and India.

Comparison of Standard and High Cube Containers

  40 ft Standard containers 40 ft High cube containers Advantages
Container size (LWH) 12,033 x 2,352 x 2,393 mm 12,033 x 2,352 x 2,698 mm 1 ft (30 cm) up
Cubic capacity 67.7 m³ 76.4 m³ 12.9% up
Case of WF-2650 Series
Packaging dimensions 488 x 434 x 301 mm -
Palletize dimensions 976 x 1,302 x 2,108 mm 976 x 1,302 x 2,409 mm 1 additional layer
Number of units per pallet 42 units 48 units 14.3% up
Number of units per container 882 units 1,008 units

Results of Switching Containers for Shipping to the U.S.

* We have calculated the reductions in CO2 emissions emitted when transporting containers by cargo ship, train and truck from our manufacturing affiliates in Southeast Asia, as a result of reducing the number of containers shipped to the U.S. by about 200. The unit indicator by the Japan Ship Technology Research Association is used for calculating emissions during sea transport.

Topic 3 : Reduced Environmental Impact by Changing Printhead Shipping

Previously, printheads for shipping to our printer manufacturing sites in Indonesia were gathered from our plants around Japan at Tohoku Epson in Yamagata Prefecture and transported by truck to Narita Airport for air transportation. By establishing a sea transportation pipeline from Sakata Port, which is located conveniently about 8 km from Tohoku Epson, we significantly reduced our costs and CO2 emissions.

Containers shipped overseas from Sakata Port

CO2 Reductions Due to Changing the Shipping Method (Unit: t-CO2)

  Before After
Distance CO2 emissions Distance CO2 emissions
Land Approx. 500 km 33.9 Approx. 8 km 0.5
Air Approx. 5,800 km 401.3 -
Sea - Approx. 6,200 km 47.7
Total 435.2 48.2

* We calculated the CO2 emissions from shipping a 20-foot container from Tohoku Epson to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. The unit indicator by the Japan Ship Technology Research Association is used for calculating emissions during sea transport.