Cargo Handling Equipment Sees Electrification Growth

Published On
Feb 12, 2021

As society increasingly eyes electrification to help cut carbon emissions, various industries and sectors have become ripe for transformation. Cargo handling equipment (CHE) is one of those candidates for change.

In recent years, transportation has become the biggest carbon emitting sector of the economy. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it edges out the electricity sector by a percentage point. The two accounted for 28% and 27% of U.S. carbon emissions, respectively, in the year 2018. Industry came in third place at 22%.

Consequently, a great amount of effort is focusing on reducing emissions from the transportation sector, and these efforts will impact various industries working in it.

For example, a report from Guidehouse Insights, Boulder, Colo., observes that CHE is experiencing tremendous growth worldwide. This growth will have the double effect of increasing emissions and causing a shift in the industry toward electrification.

Published in the first quarter of 2021, "Market Data: Cargo Handling Equipment Electrification" observes that the population of CHE is increasing globally as economic growth also drives growth in cargo-related markets.

Global commerce has its drawbacks. Unfortunately, as the world relies more on shipping and air transit for commerce, pollution from this economic activity is also expected to increase. Emissions will come from all manner of CHE, including seaport CHE, airport ground support equipment and forklift markets.

In response, Guidehouse emphasizes that a combination of favorable cost economics and regulatory mandates will drive increasing CHE electrification. The market research firm notes that all of the various types of CHE are being included in decarbonization and sustainability plans, as well as regulatory policies in countries and regions around the world. Electrification will play a significant role in those efforts.

In the United States, Guidehouse points to California, where in 2017 the state's Air Resources Board (CARB), Sacramento, directed its staff to develop new regulations for CHE at seaports that will require 100% zero-emissions equipment by 2030. CARB is expected to adopt the updated regulation in 2022. Similarly, CARB is developing a zero-emissions plan for airport ground support equipment, which is expected to be considered by the board in 2021.

Guidehouse projects that by 2030, 60% of CHE sales within the seaport, airport and forklift segments will be electric.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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