Transport of fish from Norway: energy analysis using industrial ecology as the framework

Joural of Cleaner Production

In this article, industrial ecology is used as a framework for analysing transport energy and its implication for products. The importance of the energy use for transport in a natural resource production system is analysed. By using fish as a case study, it is shown that the amount of energy for transport is highly dependent on the transport mode used. When applying industrial ecology principles for making assessments of the environmental impacts of products, the whole product chain is examined. This is an extended life-cycle approach, which also includes the transport of the finished products from the exporter to the importing country. This last part of the transport chain can be extremely energy demanding, as is shown for the case of fish transport. This finding has implications for the products, and for the form in which the products should be transported. Increasing the energy efficiency of production systems is an important industrial ecology principle, and must be taken into consideration when analysing product chains. A revision of today's practice of transporting large quantities of fresh whole fish by transcontinental airliners is bound to be necessary. This is a consequence of the demands for increased energy efficiency of tomorrow's industrial production systems.