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IBM Launches Green Shipping Tools

IBM today announced a new partnership with the Japanese manufacturing company Omron Corporation to bring together the two companies' technologies to help streamline shipping and transportation with an eye toward reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

IBM brings to the partnership its technologies that can plan the most efficient transporation routes for goods; Omron has developed a range of tools for traffic control, sensors and automation. Together the companies will develop ways to help clients avoid penalties from CO2 emissions.

While it focuses at first primarily on Japanese clients, the new solutions fit into IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, which executive editor Joel Makower wrote about in January 2009:
IBM's recent campaign goes well beyond mere image -- and beyond green -- to envision a "smarter" world in which problems as wide-ranging as health care costs, energy and resource shortages, government inefficiency, threatened waterways, climate change, and traffic congestion can be addressed by a blend of systems thinking, technological innovation, and computing power. It's an intriguing campaign aimed at helping redefine IBM from its roots as a computer maker to its more recent incarnation as a self-described "global services company."
Earlier this year, we covered IBM's Supply Chain Network Optimization Workbench, a supply chain-oriented consulting project that looks at overal costs of supply chains, including shipping costs and impacts, but also sourcing, production and distribution.

Japan has had mandatory emissions reporting requirements since 2005, and released its first figures just over a year ago. In the U.S. emissions requirements are expected to be adopted in the near future, and earlier this week the EPA announced that it would be seeking tougher emissions restrictions for shipping ports.

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