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DB Schenker, Lufthansa Cargo and Nokia join forces on CO2-neutral air freight

[ October 28, 2021   //   ]

Just prior to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, DB Schenker, Lufthansa Cargo and Nokia announced their efforts to join forces for more climate friendly air freight.
Towards a greener future: DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo is already extending their weekly CO2-free freighter flights between Frankfurt and Shanghai. The joint mission will be continued throughout the entire winter flight schedule until March 2022.
On October 27, Nokia announced that it too has signed up to the initiative. Every week, the global telecommunication network provider will avoid greenhouse gas emissions by using the world’s only freighter flight 100% covered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), produced from renewable waste, such as used cooking oils.
With just a few days to go until the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, this announcement reinforces the importance of investing in sustainable aviation fuel solutions and is another step towards making global supply chains more climate friendly.
The fuel requirement for the flight rotation from Frankfurt (FRA) to Shanghai (PVG) and back is covered entirely by SAF. This saves around 174 tons of conventional kerosene every week. During the summer flight schedule 2021, the initiative successfully achieved a net reduction of 20,250 tons of greenhouse gases (CO2e). In the upcoming winter flight schedule, from the end of October 2021 to the end of March 2022, another 14,175 tons are expected.
“The ambitious team goal of climate neutrality affects every business and how our customers look at their footprint also in their supply chains,” said Thorsten Meincke, Global Board Member for Air & Ocean Freight at DB Schenker. “Together with Lufthansa Cargo, we extend our unique offer of a regular carbon-neutral flight connection.”
The SAF full charter flight rotation is regarded a game-changer as it goes beyond a pay-per-use scheme.
“We are pleased to have Nokia on board as a new major customer for our westbound flights,” Meincke added. “Together, we can avoid CO2 and take another step towards a more sustainable future.”
Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia added that investing in sustainable solutions is a top priority for the company — a shared goal with its our partners. “We can only achieve our climate targets together,” he said. “Innovation and working together across sectors are key to a greener supply chain. We constantly seek to reduce our transportation and logistics carbon footprint, and air cargo is a significant contributor. This collaboration to transport our 5G equipment on carbon-neutral flights is another important step.”
Over the next five months, Nokia will be using the carbon-neutral flight offer to ship a weekly freight volume of 10 tons of communications network equipment from a production facility in Shanghai to its European hub in Tilburg in the Netherlands. This shipment is entirely covered by SAF to reduce 100% of carbon emissions during the life cycle, avoiding any offsetting. The end-to-end agreement with DB Schenker covers both the air and land transport of the goods from Shanghai to Tilburg. All land transport elements will be covered utilizing another advanced type of biofuel, hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO).
“Using SAF is one possibility to fly CO2-neutral already today,” Ashwin Bhat, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo. “We are very proud that we can extend our partnership with DB Schenker throughout the upcoming months. We strongly believe that transforming our business into CO2-neutral air freight can best be achieved when all of us join their forces.”
The announcement follows DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo’s launch of the world’s first CO2-neutral freighter rotation between Europe and Asia in November 2020. Starting with the summer flight
schedule in April 2021, a regular freighter line connection was brought to the market.
The SAF for this collaboration is entirely produced from waste and residue raw materials, for example from used cooking oils. The CO2 released during combustion in the engine, is only the CO2 which was removed from the atmosphere during the photosynthesis phase of the plants that were utilized to produce the oils. Currently, SAF is around three times more expensive than conventional fossil kerosene.
The greenhouse gas emissions during the production and transport of the fuel are fully compensated with certified offset projects, ensuring the complete greenhouse gas neutrality of the flights. Alternatively, the customer may go for a full inset solution – as chosen by Nokia for their freight. This is by far the most sustainable option currently on the market. It is an actual “carbon zero” solution.
In the future, other types of renewable fuels will also be available. The best-known production process for this is the so-called power-to-liquid concept (PtL) based on renewable electricity, water, and CO2. While PtL production quantities are still very limited, biomass-based SAF is an already available and well-tested fuel today.
The SAF used for the DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo flight connection is produced by Neste, the world’s leading provider of sustainable fuel. The Finnish producer is currently increasing its Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel production to 1.5 million tons annually by the end of 2023.

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